Seeing drugs and alcohol have an impact on an individual’s personality is nothing new.
Addiction not only changes personality but also has a significant effect on the victim’s personal and professional relationships, as well as other essential aspects of life. When gripped by addiction, be it drug or alcohol related, victims often present a totally different personality; nothing like what they used to be before the addiction took over. There are many warning signs of drug addiction that one can see in someone struggling.
It’s not uncommon to see those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to become violent over petty issues, act up over seemingly minor things, become more aggressive overall, or even just altogether act differently. It has been observed that drugs and alcohol worsen a person’s behavior. Individuals who already have violent tendencies might become extremely violent when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, yet it’s common for the person struggling not to find anything wrong in their behavior, and instead fall into the belief that they act or perform better when under the influence.
Introverts may become more outgoing and friendlier after consuming alcohol, as they may find that alcohol helps them to forget their worries and complexes. Though the addict or their friends might see this as a positive sign, the fact is, the increased dependency on alcohol is harming the individual in the long run. The reason behind this is that when a person consumes addictive substances, such substances produce a feeling of elation or euphoria, and all the feelings of pain and anxiety become concealed by the ‘high’ that the brain experiences for a very brief period following the consumption of drugs or alcohol. But when the effect of the alcohol or drug is gone, the individual finds themselves once again craving the same feeling of ecstasy and euphoria, and this is when addiction becomes a grave problem.
Most Visible Addictive Personality Traits and Behaviours:
- Lying: This is the most common personality trait displayed by people struggling with addiction. When you’ve trusted someone for years, it’s not easy to lose trust in them – so people with alcohol and drug abuse problems can quickly get away with their lies. They feel the need to lie since they now have to hide their actual whereabouts when asked ‘where were you for so long?’. People struggling with addiction also spend huge amounts of money maintaining their addiction, which is also something they may want to hide from loved ones. Lying unfortunately typically increases as the addiction deepens.
- Manipulative: Since the person struggling is partaking in something which might not be accepted by society, their family, or their friends, they may have the tendency to be manipulative. Once they are caught abusing drugs or alcohol, the art of manipulation instantly kicks in. A person struggling with addiction may come up with a variety of excuses and convincing lies, insisting that they are no longer seeing their drug dealers, that they have already started rehabilitative therapy, that it was just a one-off with friends and not a regular occurrence, or that their drug of choice helps them perform better in their profession. Since their loved ones trust them, the person will often be able to manipulate them easily.
- Abusive: At some point in time, if addiction is not controlled, then the person struggling may tend to become abusive and violent with their loved ones. Generally, whether married or in a relationship, the other half is made to bear the brunt of their partner’s addiction. Since someone struggling with addiction is continually being asked to amend their ways, they begin to perceive the people around them as dangerous or spiteful.
- Violent: It’s not uncommon for those struggling with addiction to become violent when they feel annoyed due to the continuous advice from loved ones to stop their substance abuse or seek professional treatment. They become so obsessed with their addiction or chasing that feeling of ecstasy that they may physically or emotionally attack the people around them. If the person struggling with addiction perceives those around them as trying to get between them and their addiction, victims of addiction may also resort to serious threats.
- Forgetful: Drug and alcohol abuse tend to affect a person’s brain; hence it is very natural for them to become forgetful, to the point where they can’t remember what they’ve done – especially when under the influence. In some cases, drug or alcohol addiction may affect a person’s memory so much that they might not necessarily remember the discussion you had with them earlier on in the day. They’ll immediately deny everything and portray you as a liar and a fool.
- Secretive: Since they’re well aware that their substance abuse will be frowned upon in their family and friends circle, individuals may try to hide and become secretive when it comes to their new found habit, which will eventually turn into an addiction over time. Additionally, victims of addiction might not necessarily tell you where they’re going, the people they spend their time with, and their plans for the day. They might feel that if their family and friends came to know about their addiction, they will either disown them or will force them to seek medical help to fight their substance abuse problems.
All the above-mentioned behavioral changes in a person’s personality can be devastating for the individual’s overall health and well-being; including their mental health, physical health, and social health. When we mention social health, it refers to the person’s personal status among their society that can affect their relationship with the people around them. Typically, people tend not to like befriending people with abuse issues, and their relatives might avoid all contact with them.
Damages in Personal, Professional and Social Life Due to Addiction:
Personal Health Takes a Turn for the Worse
There is a very close relationship between addiction and personal health. Addiction, be it drug abuse or alcoholism, does no good to the abused or affected ones. Apart from a personality disorder, addiction eventually begins taking its toll on a person’s physical health as well.
Due to the uncontrolled consumption of addictive, and harmful substances, the addict becomes mentally, and physically unbalanced. Additionally, when an addict is rejected or treated poorly by their family and society because their addiction, it tends to affect them, which in turn leads to mental personality issues, and then physical problems too.
Those struggling become so obsessed with their chase of drugs and euphoria that their main priority in life becomes finding more drugs to help them achieve that dream high. They lose focus, which prevents them from carrying out even the most basic of tasks, like eating or sleeping regularly. All this added together strains the already weakened immune system, resulting in a breakdown of that individual’s overall physical health.
Loss of Personal Reputation
Throughout the years, society has looked down upon substance abuse. Those suffering from addiction suffer from the loss of reputation as a result of their lying, abusive, forgetful, manipulative, violent, and secretive behavior. People tend not to trust them and treat them with a lack of respect.
Worsening School/University Performance
Two of the most noticeable changes in someone struggling with addiction are the lack of concentration and the loss of interest, especially in school-aged individuals. Students who fall victim to drug abuse and alcoholism tend to suffer from a drop in academic performance, eventually dropping out of school or university. The person struggling does not know how to cope with addiction when going through such a transformative period.
Negative Impacts on Professional Life
Someone struggling often goes through a decline in their workplace performance. This can adversely affect a person’s life, and in some cases even affects the lives of those who depend on them, such as dependent family members. People tend to look down on those struggling from abuse and mistreat them. Addiction isn’t just limited to personal damage, but it also changes the way society perceives the victim and what other people thing about the person. In general, people who work with substance abusers tend to complain about the distractions they face or the potential risks resulting from their co-worker’s addiction.
The Weakening of Relationships with Family and Friends
Relationships are one of the most delicate areas. Be it with family or friends, a person’s addiction leads to weakened and broken relationships. Someone struggling with addiction often, and sometimes very clearly, hides their weaknesses and become very cagey about their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
At times, they even isolate themselves from their family or the society they live in just to avoid the questions. Lies become the easiest way to hide one’s bad habits. Forgetfulness, manipulations, secrecy, abusiveness, low-stress tolerance, dishonesty, and selfishness create a myriad of problems at home, leading to the weakening of relationships.
Involvement in Crime and Anti-Social Acts
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says, “alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes today, and drugs and crime are correlated”. It is observed that both drug addiction, as well as alcoholism, lead to a person’s irresponsible behavior and their increased inclination to take unnecessary risks. Also, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, people may fall into criminal traps and often commit acts that are socially or legally unacceptable. They tend to be seen as a social outcast and regularly rack up criminal charges.
Addiction, Human Behaviour, and Health
From the above discussion, we have learned and understood that drugs and alcohol can have serious, adverse effects on people. But how many times have we tried to find the reason behind a person’s addiction?
How Addiction Affects the Brain
Addiction’s mental effects lead someone to act erratically. The most straightforward reason behind this is that drugs and alcohol destroy the brain. When under the influence, a person’s brain is flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that exists in the parts of the brain that control movement, motivation, human emotion, and feelings of pleasure.
After consuming drugs or alcohol, a person experiences moments of extreme pleasure and happiness, but when the same feelings of euphoria face away, the person is left craving more drugs and alcohol to replicate that same moment of joy. As the desire to be in a state of euphoria grows stronger, the victim falls further and further into the clutches of addiction. Unfortunately, a person’s chase of that initial high they felt slowly, but surely, develops into a vicious cycle of substance abuse.
Over time, constant abuse alters critical brain activity and encourages the brain to prioritize the addiction over other essential tasks. Because the brain is preoccupied with drugs or alcohol, someone struggling with addiction goes through drastic changes in their personality and behavior. Often, people suffering from addiction turn into a completely different person altogether.
Realizing that you’re abusing and are addicted to drugs or alcohol is the first step toward a healthier tomorrow. Overcoming addiction isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. The first thing you need to do is talk to your family and friends who care for and love you. Be honest with them about your abuse and addiction and ask them how they can support you throughout this challenging period in your life.
Whether you choose to seek professional medical help or undergo self-treatment is your choice. With time, you will come to know what helps you best. Ask people, research your options to break free of the vicious cycle. Most importantly: do not give up. With enough perseverance and willpower, you will recover and go on to live a healthier life.
Similarly, it’s a scary feeling when you find out your loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol abuse problem. In these times of crisis, it’s crucial that you lean on the people closest to you for their support. Do your research and educate yourself on addiction to help you throughout the process. Understanding how a family should intervene during addiction is also important.
It is vital for you to know what treatment to go for in treatment shelters. Talking to the one who’s suffering isn’t easy, but then again something as simple as talking can just about save their life. Do not give up and you’ll make it through. Remember, it’s possible for someone struggling with addiction to fully recover and go on to lead full and natural lives.