Study finds that different alcoholic drinks are linked to different moods

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Helen Booth
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Red wine apparently triggers relaxation, while spirits are linked to feelings of confidence, energy and sexiness. Sound familiar?

With the festive season just around the corner, many of us will be indulging in a Christmas tipple or two. But this year, you might want to pause for a moment before you place your order – because a new survey suggests that your choice of drink may affect how you feel for the rest of the evening.

The study, published in the BMJ Open journal, took the form of an anonymous online questionnaire aimed at people aged between 18 and 34 who had consumed alcohol in the past year.

Part of an international study carried out in 21 different countries, the survey included questions that aimed to find out how participants felt after consuming different drinks.

Do you think different alcoholic drinks affect your frame of mind in different ways?

Red wine was crowned the most relaxing beverage, with 53% of 30,000 respondents saying they felt relaxed after drinking red wine, and 50% linking the same emotion to beer. Meanwhile, spirits were linked to feelings of confidence (59%), energy (58%) and sexiness (42%).

But, unsurprisingly, the feelings mentioned in the survey weren’t all positive – the study also found that spirits were more likely to lead to “feelings of aggression, illness, restlessness and tearfulness than all other drink types”. Red wine was pinpointed as the drink most likely to cause tiredness, with 60% of participants admitting they felt sleepy after a glass of red.

There were differences between genders, too. The survey found that women were more likely to feel emotional or weepy after drinking, while men were more like to experience feelings of aggression.

Do you feel weepy after drinking?

Perhaps predictably, feelings of relaxation and tiredness increased when the participants were drinking at home, but they also reported they were more likely to feel confident, sexy and energetic (and ill or aggressive) when drinking while out.

However, analysts have pointed out that the study isn’t perfect – the emotions were self-reported, so it’s possible that participants might have let preconceptions about the way they would feel after drinking a certain type of drink influence their answers.

The study also didn’t take into account whether participants mixed drinks, or if any other factors – including social situation – had an effect.

Previous studies on the topic have also elicited conflicting results. While we’ve heard of reports of ‘Prosecco highs’, other research has found that alcohol doesn’t necessarily change your mood, it only exaggerates it.

And of course, the link in this particular research is an association – not proof that one drink causes a particular emotion more than another. However, if you already think that drinking a certain drink makes you feel a certain way, you now know you are not the only one.

Images: Pexels, Hanny Naibaho