7 Ways Addiction Changes Your Personality

Can drugs cause personality changes?

That’s the question many people are asking these days. As the addiction epidemic continues to grow, more and more people are interested in how drugs and addiction can alter someone’s personality. They see their loved ones acting differently and wonder what role substance abuse could be playing.

The short answer to the question of whether or not drugs can cause personality changes is “yes.” Drugs cause changes in a person’s behavior and tendencies that can make them seem like an entirely different person. These changes may make them almost unrecognizable to their friends and family members.

These changes in personality are caused by changes in the person’s brain. Research confirms that addiction changes the structure and function of the brain, which in turn alters a person’s thinking, emotions, and behavior.

How addiction changes your personality.

No two people are exactly the same, so not everyone experiences the same personality changes due to drug addiction. Here are seven of the most common ways that addiction changes your personality:

  1. Loss of interest
  2. Increased secrecy
  3. Increased aggression and anger
  4. Risky behavior
  5. Forgetfulness
  6. Depression or anxiety
  7. Changes in friends

We’ll explore each of these in more depth below.

1) Loss of interest

One of the most common ways addiction changes your personality is by causing you to lose interest in things you used to enjoy. Whether you love working on cars, photography, or sports, these things start to become less and less interesting to you. As addiction takes over your life, it becomes the thing that is most important to you. You may start neglecting your hobbies, your job, and your relationships in favor of using drugs or alcohol.

2) Increased secrecy

People with addiction often start to become more secretive. They may lie about where they’re going or what they’re doing. They may start isolating themselves from loved ones due to shame or fear. Someone who is abusing substances likely knows that their family would not approve of their behavior. Because of this, they may try to hide their drug use and keep more secrets from friends and family members. This increased secrecy can be a sign that addiction is taking over their life.

3) Increased aggression and anger

Substance abuse can cause people to become more aggressive and irritable. They may lash out at loved ones for no reason. Small issues and inconveniences may turn into big problems as addiction alters a person’s brain chemistry. Increased anger and aggression is one of the more common personality changes caused by drug addiction.

4) Risky behavior

People with addiction often start engaging in risky behaviors. They may take chances they wouldn’t normally take, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected sex. They may also start using more dangerous drugs. These people start going to greater and greater lengths to get the same rush that drugs gave them at the start. This risky behavior can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death.

5) Forgetfulness

Addiction can cause people to become forgetful. As substance abuse continues, it can change cognitive functions that change how memories are processed. This ends up making the person seem careless and forgetful.  He or she may start forgetting important dates, appointments, and tasks.

6) Depression or anxiety

People with addiction often suffer from depression or anxiety. This is due to the changes in brain chemistry that addiction causes. These mental health disorders can make it difficult for people to function in their everyday lives. They may have trouble going to work or taking care of their responsibilities at home. It is common for people who are struggling with substance use disorder to have a co-occurring mental health disorder. This is known as dual diagnosis.

7) Changes in friends

Addiction often leads to changes in a person’s social life. He or she may start hanging out with a different crowd than before. These new friends are likely also abusing drugs or alcohol. As addiction takes over, people often distance themselves from their old friends and family members. 

Addiction recovery at Isaiah House

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, this doesn’t have to be the whole story. We’ve helped thousands of men and women overcome addiction and achieve recovery.

At Isaiah House, we use a holistic approach to recovery that addresses every part of our clients’ lives. The spiritual, physical, mental, financial, legal, and educational aspects are all addressed through the different programs that we offer.

We walk with our clients through every step of their recovery journey. If you’re ready to take the first step of your journey, reach out to us today! We would love to help you figure out what steps to take next.

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