Have you ever wondered why addiction changes a person so much? The answer is simple: drugs and alcohol hijack the brain. It’s important to understand why addiction changes the personality, as this can help you recognize why your loved one is acting out. As difficult and frustrating as it is to deal with an addict, these individuals don’t need criticism and judgement. They need empathy, support and dual diagnosis treatment in Agoura.
Let’s learn more about how drugs and alcohol change the brain and the many ways this shows up in an addict’s personality.
Substance Abuse and the Brain
When a person abuses drugs and alcohol, their brain is flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is often referred to as the “feel-good hormone.” An excess of dopamine gives the body a euphoric rush, but only for a short time. Once the rush is over, an addict is left with nothing but cravings.
Drug and alcohol cravings can be so strong, they overtake the person’s everyday life. Usually, the more a person uses drugs and alcohol, the stronger the cravings get. This turns into a vicious cycle where the person continually seeks out their next high, despite harmful consequences.
Few things on Earth have the potential to rob a person of everything. Addiction is one of them. For most people, this is a process that starts with experimentation and eventually leads to addiction. Intervening early is the best thing you can do to prevent a situation from spiraling out of control.
How Addiction Affects the Personality
Here are some of the ways that addiction changes the personality.
- Impaired relationships. It’s hard for addicts to maintain healthy relationships because they increasingly put drugs and alcohol first. Sadly, the addiction convinces the person that they don’t need any relationships. This is what leads to isolation and secretive behaviors.
- Poor school/work performance. Some people are able to balance their substance abuse with work/school, but only for a while. Over time, the addiction creeps into this aspect of life, too. The frequent use of drugs and alcohol affects focus, attention span and motivation.
- Criminal charges. As the addiction worsens, it’s more likely that a person will have a run-in with the law. They might be arrested on a DUI or caught buying drugs on the streets. Once criminal charges are filed, an addict may lose their job or custody of their children.
- Risky lifestyle behaviors. Addiction goes hand-in-hand with risky lifestyle choices, such as unprotected sex, prostitution, reckless driving and other harmful behaviors. People who abuse drugs are also more likely to eat poorly, get inadequate sleep and have a low immune system.
- Poor physical health. When a person doesn’t eat and sleep well, they experience deteriorating physical health. Addicts are often over- or underweight, malnourished, sleep deprived and vitamin deficient.
Common Personality Changes
It’s obvious why an addict undergoes so many personality changes. Drugs and alcohol change the brain, and everything in life starts to fall apart. Loved ones usually report the following changes in character:
- Lying and secrecy
- Fatigue and laziness
- Becoming abusive
- Shifting blame
- Frequent mood swings
The best way to prevent an addiction from stripping away your loved one’s personality is to intervene early. If your loved one is already addicted and experiencing personality changes, reach out for treatment right away. Addiction treatment in Agoura has come a long way in recent years and now encompasses alternative therapies, medication management and counseling. Call Awakenings Treatment Center to discuss your options for dual diagnosis treatment.