Getting to understand alcohol myopia

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

­F. Scott Fitzgerald

The American novelist and short story writer, probably, knew how alcohol provides a temporary relief from loneliness and painful memories, but, eventually, puts reputation, reasoning and life at considerable risk. Besides causing a host of health problems, excessive consumption leads to a condition called alcohol myopia or shortsightedness. Drinking narrows the focus of a person in a way that one is able to process only some part of an information excluding important consequences or stimuli. Alcohol myopia is characterized by a person’s ability to only process clues in the immediate environment.

Listed below are six ways in which too much drinking can interfere with one’s aptitude to focus and make decisions.

Impulsive behavior

After binge drinking, a person finds it difficult to understand the importance of the word “No.” Alcohol in large amounts is capable of inhibiting a person’s ability to refrain from getting into something extreme. An intoxicated person fails to analyze situations and indulges in impulsive acts for seeking immediate rewards, such as unsafe sexual practices, oblivious of the risks involved (susceptibility to contracting sexually transmitted diseases STDs).


When a person is under the influence, he or she develops a tendency to get aggressive at the slightest of provocation. In hostile settings, alcohol encourages belligerent behavior because of which, a person focuses only on the triggers instead of the non-provocative or self-restraining signals.


Under the influence of alcohol, a person loses his/her ability to regulate the amount of food he or she consumes. This is the reason why chronic dieters perceive alcohol as a dangerous trigger for their weight goals. Due to this, nutrition experts advise people to stay at an arm’s length from alcohol as it can completely distract a person from achieving his/her weight loss goals.

Limited self-awareness

Alcohol can impair a person’s ability to regulate his/her demeanor in public. This is the reason why parties are so loud and brash. People lose control and do not give two hoots about what others think about them and their actions.

Perceived anxiety relief

Many people wrongly perceive alcohol as an anxiety buster. Before the commencement of an important event, taking a drink or two is quite common. In reality, alcohol can exacerbate the anxiety symptoms in the long run.

Poor goal setting

Goal setting depends on one’s sincerity and the amount of effort one is willing to put, regardless of the circumstances. When one is under the influence of alcohol, one can only focus on the desirability aspect, when one should be exploring its feasibility aspect. Once sober, such people fail to follow their own commitments.

Leave drinking before it causes further harm

As a person’s cognitive processing ability decreases, he or she can only focus on the here and now, rather than thinking about the long-term effects. Binge drinking and alcohol addiction can have long-term catastrophic effects on a person’s physical, social and psychological health. One should drink responsibly and do not go beyond a limit.

If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol and is looking for help, contact the Alcohol Addiction Get Help Helpline for the right guidance. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 281-3014 or chat online with one of our experts to know about some of the finest alcohol addiction treatment centers in your vicinity.

Also read:

Subtle signs of alcoholism that are easy to miss

Is alcohol addiction a problem of willpower?

How to identify a high-functioning alcohol user?