why do people like getting drunk?

My question is inspired by this story.

As someone who drinks only socially but rarely to the point of intoxication, I admit to having no clue why people appear to enjoy getting shit-faced. Explanations? :confused:

Alcohol lowers inhibitions. People that might feel anxious, uptight or high strung might feel much more confident and relaxed when inebriated.

For some people (myself included) things seem more ‘fun’ when drunk. I used to think watching baseball and fishing were pretty tedious, boring activities. Then i got drunk with my brother and did these activities (not at the same time :eek: ) and kind of saw the logic in them.

For some people, getting drunk helps them blot out bad thoughts/memories. Obviously this isn’t the most constructive way of dealing with them, but for some people it is a short-term solution.

Obviously you can get all these things simply by being ‘buzzed’ (under the influence, but not full blown drunk). But for some people, having one drink feels good, so why not have another? and another? and another? and, why is the ceiling spinning? I forget what I was talking about! :stuck_out_tongue:

Baseball and fishing while drunk could be interesting :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess some people like feeling more uninhibited? Some people are also very shy and maybe it’s easier for them to loosen up and be in a group after drinking. And other people have mental health issues and drink to self medicate, although I would imagine that kind of drinking is done alone and I’m presuming you’re talking about social drinking.

I like to drink, but never to the point of being out of control. I’ll drink until I get a buzz and that’s it. It’s not safe to black out obviously and I don’t want to be nauseous and throwing up.

I see I****ncubus covered a lot of this (posted while I was typing). So yeah, what he said basically explains it. Speaking of sports, I was forced to go to a baseball game once and drinking beer gave me something to do since the game was so hideously boring.

Short answer, because it’s fun.

This question has been asked plenty of times here, and I’ve come to the conclusion that some people who just don’t get it. Which is fine, I’ve asked the same thing about “The Big Bang Theory.” But to me it’s like trying to explain what’s so great about ice cream; if it’s not immediately apparent to you, then we are so fundamentally different that explaining it is probably impossible.

Just wondering, but could you name a few things that you find really fun? Not mildly enjoyable, like reading a good book, but rather something where afterwards you would say “Phew, that was a blast!”

Well, I do a lot of track time racing with my modified road car and have driven an open wheel racecar, if you’re insinuating that people who don’t enjoy drinking are somehow registered members of the no-fun-club.

I think you’re right that it’s just something that people like me don’t get. I’ve been drunk when out with friends in the past, and I usually end up regretting it the next day as I pop the ibuprofens trying to rid myself of the headaches. But some of my friends do this regularly, so they must obviously enjoy it.

Not all people react this way to alcohol; I don’t get hangovers. I don’t drink much anymore (in order to cut down on calories; booze is terrible for weight gain) but when I do get drunk I don’t experience hangovers, never have.


  1. It’s fun!

… is part of it, there are some other common reasons:

  1. It’s a form of social expectation. People get drunk because that’s what they do; my friends are getting loaded, so so will I. Just yesterday my sister in law was talking about how in college she’d have to drink at home to “catch up” to friend who’d already started before going out. That makes no sense, logically - the first part of getting drunk is the best - but she was expected to drink as much so she did. In some social situations people quite often just drink because it’s what you do. In college it’s practically a sport.

  2. They’re dependent upon it. Alcoholism is much more common than people realize. While a full-blown, arrested-for-DUI-beats-up-his-family drunk is easy to spot, there are quite frankly a lot of folks who have a less spectacular level of alcohol dependency. It comes in many different varieties but it’s common as hell.

When you get really good at it, you don’t get the headaches anymore.

Some research may show that that difference may actually be part of brain physiology, especially with people who consistently want to drink more. Granted, the research is still really new and not conclusive, but it could have something to do with dopamine receptor deficiency. So not only is it “fun” for those with this deficiency, but at the moment the “fun” starts, they want to increase that “fun” as much as possible, to the point where the negative aspects of the intoxication, which cause most people to limit intake, are overriddden.

Here’s an article I found that looks like it does a halfway-decent job of answering the OP’s question in a GQ sort of way.

A sample:

Which means, if I’m interpreting it correctly, that once you’ve started drinking, it feels better to keep drinking than to stop drinking.

When I get totally smashing drunk, I feel utterly painless. Light. Floating. It’s a fantastic feeling, though short-lived. It’s a happy place.

It takes too much booze and too much damage to my body to do it very often, but it’s an exciting place to visit.

Ok, I wasn’t exactly thinking of a “no-fun-club,” it’s just that most of the people I’ve encountered in the “don’t get it” category engage in what I’ll call “sensation-seeking” activities less often. Racing cars probably belongs in that category, however, so I’ll be sure to forget this anecdote so as not to interrupt my confirmation bias :smiley:

The hangover thing may have something to do with it too. I really don’t experience the classic symptoms, i.e. headache, sensitivity to noise and light, upset stomach, etc. More of an overall tired, lethargic sensation, occasionally accompanied by a vague sense of dread. Nothing a coconut water, 5-mile run, cold shower, and a nap can’t fix. I might feel different about the cost/benefit analysis of drinking if I was in actual pain the next day.

Not everyone experiences the same after effects. I sometimes get a mild headache, but that’s about it. I like that nice little mellow buzz I get from drinking – and I generally only restrict it to special occassions. Not everyone likes to get falling down, completely shitfaced.

I like catching a buzz with booze. But I have no desire to lose control of my senses. Just a buzz. If it starts to exceed that I taper off and start eating. Works for me.

Too many children get the idea that when they grow up they can prove they’re adults by getting drunk. Personally, I’d like to see booze outlawed. It totally ruined my father’s life.

We tried that. It failed, spectacularly.

Just like everything else, there are different levels of taste for alcohol. My family has very little. I don’t mind alcohol, and drink in the appropriate social occasions, but at home beer remains untouched in my refrigerator for years. I’ll take a Coke over one any day. My father was the same way. My wife will have a glass of wine before dinner and I’ll take one if she offers, but I never even think of it myself.
I have gotten drunk a few times in college, and it wasn’t horrible, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.

Personally, I think I look fantastic in a lampshade.


Interesting screen name/post.

Could be. An extract from the article you quoted caught my eye:

I think this up and down must vary across individuals. My dad seem to move from the happy, extroverted kind of drunk to the sloppy, cry-in-your-beer kind of drunk very quickly. To see him in the latter stage was pitiful, and it had a profound effect on me because I loved my dad so much.

When I tell people about him today, I say that he was the greatest guy in the world when he was sober, and the worst guy in the world when he was drunk. A few times of seeing my dad in that latter stage, and I was young at the time, were enough to make me vow that I would never become like him.

I don’t shun alcohol completely, but I don’t drink very often. And when I do, I stop at the mild buzz level. Being truly drunk holds absolutely zero appeal for me.