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By now, it’s been well documented how a substance abuse addiction effects the user. It changes their health, relationships and reputation. What people don’t talk about much is how it changes the individual’s personality. In the sections below, we will discuss how profoundly a drug or alcohol addiction can change the individual’s personality while using and perhaps well into the future.

How Personality Changes During the Substance Abuse Period

To be clear, most poor souls who fall prey to an addiction are already dealing with personal issues and perhaps behavioral problems. That’s not to say there aren’t drug users who get addicted to a substance simply because of curiosity or experimentation. It’s possible some of these people had outgoing personalities and a happy-go-lucky attitude when the drug using started.

Still, it’s fair to assume that represents a small minority of drug users. It’s far more likely the individual was already dealing with issues related to things like depression, loss, anxiety and frustration. In such cases, the individual’s personality had likely already been affected by what led to the drug use.

With all that said, things can and do get worse. During substance abuse, you might see the drug user experiencing some of the following changes in their personality:

  • Outgoing people will suddenly become secretive and withdrawn
  • Normally passive people can become aggressive and angry 
  • People who normally handle their personal responsibilities will stop taking care of themselves and their personal responsibilities
  • A loving person might suddenly find themselves distancing themselves from family and friends 
  • People can suddenly become obsessive
  • Law-abiding people can start committing crimes to secure drugs

If you see some on these changes within yourself, it might be a clear sign you have an addiction. If so, the only chance you have to reclaim the person you used to be is by getting addiction treatment from a reputable drug and alcohol treatment center.

The Long Term Changes in Personality

Addiction treatment offers a great opportunity to eliminate or turn around personality issues. However, it might be unrealistic for you to assume you can ever go back to the wonderful person you were before your addiction took over. The reality is you have probably seen and done things you once thought were unimaginable. Those things are likely imprinted in your mind and soul forever.

That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome most of your detrimental personality issues and become a sweet and loving person. During treatment, you will discover that hard work translates into a strong recovery. If you are willing to totally commit to the treatment process, the counseling and therapy you get will set the wheels of change in motion. You might not recapture the you that you used to be, but there’s every reason to believe you will return to being a responsible person with a much better outlook on life. 

It’s difficult to get through an addiction unscathed. The sooner you can get yourself into treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to start minimizing the effect it will have on your personality in the future.