On 21st August, 2011, a local drunk punched a father of four so hard that he fell back, hitting his head on a pole before falling to the ground. The blow to his head left the victim, Mark Haley, in a coma for two years. The assailant Michael Broom was sentenced to three years in prison for GBH while Mr Haley was in the coma. However, Mr Haley died almost two years after the incident with Broom subsequently admitting to manslaughter. He has now been sentenced to an additional two years in prison.

On the day of the attack, Mr Haley had brushed past Broom near the Chessington Tesco store. Broom responded by taking off his shirt and then punching Mr Haley in the face causing him to fall backwards before hitting his head. There were a number of witnesses to the crime as well as CCTV footage of the incident.

The victim’s family told of their devastation at the attack and of how Haley had been a fantastic role model for his children. During the court case, it was also heard that this was not the first time Broom had acted aggressively while drunk. He already had sixteen other convictions, many of which were alcohol related.

What Makes Some Alcoholics Aggressive?

Not every alcoholic displays aggressive behaviour when having had too much to drink. However, some do and when they act in this aggressive manner, they can harm themselves and others, as was the case of Michael Broom.

According to psychologist Dr Adrienne Heize who works at Stanford University as a substance abuse researcher, very few people when they drink actually become aggressive. However, those who do get violent can target friends and family members and, sometimes, unsuspecting members of the public.

Who Will Become Violent?

It is believed that personality plays a key role in whether or not a person will become an aggressive drunk. Those who tend to have an inability to control their anger when sober are more likely to become violent while under the influence of alcohol. Aggressive drunks are usually the type of person who will be less empathetic towards others when they are sober and who tend to be irritable with others, even without alcohol. Studies also show that men are more likely to become aggressive when drunk than women are.

What Other Factors Influence Aggression in Alcoholics

Research has also shown that brain function can lead to violence because of the way alcohol affects the ability to make decisions. While under the influence of alcohol, people are less able to judge a situation logically and, instead of taking a deep breath when feeling insulted by something or someone, may retort with something not normally said. For those who have a tendency for violence anyway, aggressive behaviour is the result.

Some individuals tend to have less control over their decision making in general, adolescents for example. Brains are still developing into the twenties and we know that one of the last areas to develop is the prefrontal lobe; this is responsible for control and decision-making. This is why so many adolescents and young people tend to become aggressive when drunk.

Help for Alcoholics

There is no doubt that dealing with any type of alcoholic can be upsetting for family members, but dealing with an aggressive alcoholic can be traumatic. Alcoholics need help to kick the habit – at Addiction Helper, we can provide that help. We will help to get you the right treatment for your circumstances and will continue to support you throughout your journey. Call us today for free and independent addiction advice.

Sources: The Guardian & ABC 

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