Picture this: Last night, your friend invited you out to happy hour.
You told her "yes," deciding to skip your workout class (and your afternoon snack). One half-priced beer turned into four, and before you knew it you were a little tipsy.
OK fine, you were really drunk.
Then, this guy at the bar looked at you funny and you asked him why he was looking at you like that. He kind of reminded you of your ex, so that pissed you off even more.
He insisted he didn't give you a funny look at all, and before you knew it you weren't just pissed off. You were furious. You really unloaded on him, telling him what a jerk he was...
Then you got kicked out of the bar.
You wake up the next day embarrassed, super hungover and wondering why that perfectly nice guy made you so angry.
You're not alone in feeling bewildered by your own drunk behavior. Plenty of us have woken up wondering why a certain situation made us so sad, angry or even really happy.
So we decided to get to the bottom of it. Here's what's going on with those crazy drunk emotions of yours.
Here's what alcohol actually does to your brain.
First things first: A little lesson on how alcohol affects your brain.
As Mental Floss explains it, alcohol is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
So when we drink alcohol, it slows down our central nervous system. Our CNS is responsible for controlling our motor functions, helping us interpret sensory cues, thinking, reasoning and our emotions.
When our CNS slows down, we can't regulate any of these things quite as well. This is why we're prone to slurring, tripping over our own feet and getting angrier, sadder or happier when we're drunk.
Alcohol also suppresses inhibitory neurotransmitters in our brains, meaning it takes away our inhibitions.
Which explains why when you're drunk and feel like telling you best friend you love her, you're more likely to do it.
Hey, losing you inhibitions isn't always a bad thing.
As for those beer tears...
Drunk you is basically you without impulse control, according to Health Guidance.
So if you're generally a giddy and happy person, you'll only get giddier and happier when you're drunk.
If you're sad -- and this doesn't just have to do with general demeanor, you could be sad because of something situational like a recent breakup -- you'll get sadder as you get drunker.
So really drunk you = really tearful you.
And if you're the type of person who soberly starts arguments or gravitates toward drama, there's a possibility a few drinks could cause you to start a bar brawl or a really loud and unnecessary argument.
And about that guy who looked at you the wrong way...
Of course, your general mood or demeanor going into a drunk situation isn't the only thing that impacts your behavior -- the way the night plays out has a lot to do with it.
As Greatist's Jessica Magidson explains,
The individual brings some things to the equation, some that can be seen as more stable (i.e., personality, genetic factors), and some situational (i.e., how much did you eat that day? how much sleep did you get?), but the reality is that this 'mixes' with the environment one is drinking in, both in terms of who and what is around you and what you are drinking.
Maybe having this information won't stop you from starting a fight in your local bar and embarrassing yourself night after night, but hey -- at least now you know why you do it.