College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Alcohol's Effects on Human Emotions: A Review of the Stimulation/Depression Hypothesis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1982

Keywords

Depression, Dose-Response Relationship, Emotions, Ethanol, Stimulation

Publication Title

International Journal of the Addictions

ISSN

0020-773X

Volume

17

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

Recent hypotheses hold that acute alcohol consumption sequentially stimulates and then depresses (stimulation/depression) the drinker's emotional state as well as other physiological and non-mood-related behavioral functions. This paper traces the development of the stimulation/depression hypothesis as applied to human emotions and critically evaluates investigations of alcohol's acute emotional effects in order to assess its validity. Although some evidence suggests an elatant (i.e., stimulant) effect of alcohol at moderate intoxication levels, particularly on the rising limb of the blood alcohol curve, it is concluded that because of methodological inadequacies in the relevant experimental literature, the stimulation/depression hypothesis as applied to emotions remains largely untested. Conceptual and methodological refinements necessary for testing the hypothesis are discussed, and potentially important nonpharmacological factors that may also influence postconsumption mood changes are identified.

DOI

10.3109/10826088209054615

Peer Reviewed

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