You may notice a person that is close to a drug addict say something like they do not know them anymore. This scenario replays itself with all drug and alcohol addicts, and it is true, considering that drugs actually change people’s personalities.
The effects of alcoholism and drug abuse on the body and the mind are very evident to many people, but they do much more than that – they can change people over time. They create what is called a ‘drug personality’, which is artificial, at least for the most part.
If you have been with someone who has descended into the habit of drug addiction, then you have an idea of what this means.They begin to change their mannerisms, and everything becomes focused on getting more of the drug at the expense of their health or relationships with others.
Why do artificial personalities develop?
Artificial personalities that are due to drug addiction are because the addict mainly wants to avoid pain, regardless of the cost. That makes the person involve themselves in even illegal activities, just so that they get the next fix, even if it means stealing or lying to the ones they love. They do this so that they avoid the issues that the drug addiction is causing them, which come in the form of withdrawal symptoms.
The other factor that increases the chances of artificial personality is the drug cravings. These are powerful and they cannot stop easily unless they take another dose of the drugs, and this leads them to do irrational behavior.
These activities make them feel guilty over what they have done, so they know the solution is getting a greater fix than before, which creates a cycle of them doing harmful activities. That leads into a dangerous downward spiral.
Every drug has its own effects on someone’s personality. For instance, cocaine tends to make someone extremely aggressive and violent the more they use it, people who abuse marijuana become paranoid, and synthetic drugs such as Spice and heroin can make the person unrecognizable when they are going through a hallucinatory episode.
How do drugs do this?
The answer is actually very simple – they destroy the chemistry of your brain. They achieve this by increasing the levels of dopamine to unhealthy levels.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical), which is located in certain regions of the brain, especially those that are in charge of pleasure, movement, motivation and emotion control. That means that when someone uses drugs, these regions are the most affected – and they will feel moments of extreme euphoria.
However, this effect does not last long, and soon after it wears off, they are on the search for the next high – they want to replicate the feeling they got when they first used the drug. This leads to very intense cravings that cannot be controlled, and withdrawal symptoms begin to develop. As the body starts to desire more of the drug, the person resorts to consuming more of it to feel the ‘high’. This quickly turns into a cycle that consumes the person entirely, as they are continuously using the substance, yet they will never achieve the initial high.
As time passes, brain activity changes, and the person begins to prioritize getting more of the drug than anything else. That leads to changes in personality, and the person can morph into someone else entirely because they are not under control of themselves.
Some signs of changing behavior include forgetfulness, secrecy, fatigue, and high risk behavior, laziness, paranoia, selfishness, increasingly abusive behavior, and impulsiveness, lack of responsibility, manipulation, restlessness, dishonesty, and low tolerance to stress.
Damages that are caused by artificial personalities
The person becomes increasingly secretive about everything they do, to the detriment of those who are close to them. When someone tries to ask, they get angry, become argumentative, and have frequent, unexplainable mood swings.
These always cause problems in the home, and lead to the deterioration of relationships – even with their friends.
More violent personality and argumentative
It does not matter the drug the person uses. The more they do so, the more evasive and secretive they become, and they can even start to become manipulative in their decisions or when they want to persuade you to do something for them. When you refuse to bend to their desires, they begin abusing you more and more often.
The people around them that care for them will try to encourage them to stop using the drug, go to rehab and go on a road to sobriety. However, it is common to see the addict lashing out at them when they try to help – they accuse them of interfering in something that is none of their business, or they threaten to harm themselves or leave. Anyone who tries to offer help is not safe – they will tear them apart. The arguments become more and more aggressive and brutal, no matter how polite you may be.
Poor performance at work or school
The inability to focus and gradual loss of interest are two side effects of drug and alcohol abuse, and this is particularly problematic if the person is still in school or they are working. A student is most likely to drop out, as they are too concerned with drugs at the expense of everything else.
Even working people who have drug addictions do not seem to be trusted by their co-workers or employers, or they tend to distract them with their behavior – such as coming to work late, not finishing their jobs, and so on.
Changes in physical health
An individual can change drastically due to drug abuse, and one of these is their increasing willingness to participate in criminal activities to get their next fix. Their drug of choice becomes a central theme in their lives, and they cannot do anything else, even sleeping or eating.
Drug addiction is a very serious issue because it affects multiple aspects of the user, including their personality. It is therefore important to seek help as soon as possible, and recognize that even though change does not happen quickly, they can still heal as long as they abstain.