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6 Ways Addiction Can Change Your Personality

Addiction is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. And yes, it is a disease, as it alters the way the brain and the body function – potentially even years after a person has stopped using drugs or alcohol. That’s why it’s important to notice the behavioral signs of addiction as early as possible.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is a strong compulsion to use substances despite the consequences of doing so. In most cases, it leads to behavioral changes as well as changes in personality. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at some personality changes you can expect to see in a person that is an addict.

How Addiction Can Affect Your Personality

Since addiction affects the way the brain works, it can easily lead to changes in personality. Here are some of the most common changes you’ll see in a person battling addiction:

1. Loss of Interest

Because substance abuse becomes a priority, many people end up losing interest in the things they once enjoyed doing. It could be a hobby, spending time with family, or even work. This is a problem because these are the things that, in part, define who we are and often give us a strong sense of identity.

2. Depression or Anxiety

Perhaps one of the most significant changes that can come with addiction is experiencing a poor mental state. Substance abuse can lead to feeling out of control, lost, or confused, which may make a person more susceptible to depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, this can lead to a vicious cycle as the depression/anxiety fuel the need to take more drugs or alcohol.

3. Isolation and Secretive Behavior

Secrecy is one of the behavioral signs of addiction you may notice in a person with substance abuse issues. One of the main reasons for this is that the person knows their family and friends won’t approve of the habit. Therefore, to keep people from knowing about the addiction, they may isolate and become secretive.

4. Risky Behavior

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prolonged substance abuse impairs the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for planning, decision making, and self-control. With it out of sync, it becomes easy to engage in activities the individual wouldn’t normally engage in. This can include risky behavior such as sharing needles, unprotected sex, and even behavior that is illegal.

5. Change in Friends

They say birds of a feather flock together. That’s why one of the behavioral signs of addiction is a change in friends. Because getting drugs may not be easy, the individual may prefer to hang around people who can help sponsor their addiction. They may also find themselves preferring the company of people with similar habits.

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6. Aggressive Behavior

Substance abuse strips people of their ability to control their lives. As a result, the lack of self-control can lead to frustration, which may result in lashing out at those around them. Yes, even those who want to help.

Behavioral Signs of Addiction – Changes You Shouldn’t Ignore

When you notice yourself or a loved one exhibiting the behavioral signs of addiction outlined above, don’t take it as an opportunity to judge. Instead, read them as SOS signals – cries for help. Getting drug and alcohol treatment as soon as possible is one of the best things a person dealing with addiction can do. If you or a loved one needs to talk to a professional, please give us a call at (888) 418-4188.


  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

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