One-third of all acts of violence are
perpetrated under the influence of alcohol. They give rise not only to personal
suffering, but also to socio-economic costs.
are the causes of alcohol-related aggression? The authors Anne Beck and Andreas
Heinz have investigated this question and present their findings in this
edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2013; 110
They outline the social, psychological, and
neurobiological factors that contribute to the link between alcohol consumption
and increased aggression.
Reduced cognitive control resulting from heavy
alcohol consumption narrows perception and so can lead to an increased
proneness to violent behaviour in certain situations. According to current
research, additional factors include personal expectations of the effect of
alcohol and previous violent confrontations.
men in particular, the influence of alcohol strengthens the conviction that
violence and aggression are acceptable forms of social interaction. However,
environmental conditions in early childhood, such as social discrimination, are
further risk factors.
Therapeutic approaches have been developed
to combat this alcohol-induced aggression. These are specific therapies that
aim to increase cognitive and emotional control.