Coping with Embarrassing Mishaps and Fallouts Due to Intoxication

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

drug addict standing by window and sleeping.We have all experienced situations that may have caused us to feel embarrassed, humiliated, or self-conscious, whether this was the result of something that we unintentionally inflicted on ourselves or a situation that may have involved other people.

Whatever the situation, embarrassment can be particularly difficult to deal with, especially in public situations or around other people. This is something that may commonly result in a situation where a person is heavily influenced by drugs or alcohol, as cognition is often distorted.

Acting Out While Under the Influence

When under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an individual can be inclined to act out in behaviors that may not be productive to themselves or the people around them. According to the World Health Organization, intoxication is a condition that follows the administration of a psychoactive substance and results in disturbances in the level of cognition, consciousness, perception, affect, judgment, behavior, or other psychophysiological functions and responses1.

How Behavior Is Affected By the Environment

Couple_at_City_Hall_(2793892490)While the severity of intoxication is dependent on the dose and type of substance ingested, as well a person’s ability for tolerance of drugs and alcohol, behavioral expressions can be observed and further influenced by cultural and personal experiences. As an outsider, you may observe this in many different situations, such as someone who has had too much to drink at a social event or a person who is actively using drugs at a concert or other public venue.

The behavioral effects of intoxication may be obvious, such as a person who displays symptoms of agitation, aggression or hyperactivity. Other behavioral effects that may result from intoxication may be subtler, such as a person who becomes socially withdrawn and exhibits introverted behavior.

Losing Control and Making Poor Choices

If you are the person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may or may not remember the behavior you may have displayed as a result of being intoxicated. Perhaps you have found yourself in a situation in which you feel a loss of control.

This may have led you to make poor choices that hurt yourself and others involved, which may include physical aggression, violence, sexual misconduct, theft or stealing, or other forms of accidents, such as a car wreck. These types of behaviors result in seriously damaging consequences that will last far longer than the period of intoxication.

Addiction Hope The Dangerous Consequences of DrunkorexiaYou may come out of the intoxicated episode without full knowledge of what events transpired, only to discover bits and pieces of things that have occurred from people who may have been involved. Behaviors that are expressed under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also result in serious legal ramifications, which may even cause an arrest or prison time.

If you have found yourself in this situation, it is important to seek our professional help and treatment for the underlying issues as well as guidance for any mishaps or complications that may have resulted from intoxication.

Resolving the Underlying Issues of Problem Behaviors

The best approach is to resolve the underlying behaviors. For example, if a person is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol or another mental disorder, it is crucial to seek out help for dealing with these behaviors. A person may continuing to experience embarrassing or dangerous behaviors as a result of their addiction if the behavior is not addressed and treated at its core.

Repairing a reputation or recovering from legal consequences that have resulted from intoxication is a process that will transpire over time. An individual must first accept responsibility for their actions and seek out ways to repair any damage that has been done. These actions are small but meaningful steps that can help a person begin to repair damages that have resulted in their lives from addiction. Learning to live freely without the influence of an addiction is also a process that takes time but ultimately provides restoration and healing from the inside out.

Community Discussion – share your thoughts here!

How have you learned to recover and rebuild from an embarrassing situation that may have resulted due to intoxication? What resources or tools were helpful for you in effectively dealing with embarrassment or shame?


  1. Management of Substance Abuse: Acute Intoxication, World Health Organization, Accessed 20 June 2015.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 7th, 2015
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