Topsail Addiction Treatment

How Substance Abuse Shapes Your Personality

When you develop a dependence on drugs or alcohol, there are a number of physical changes that you and others around you may notice. You may struggle with changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, loss of coordination or slurred speech. However, the effects of drugs go much deeper than outward changes. If you’ve become addicted to a substance, it has the power to impact your personality as well.

The relationship between addiction and human behavior is evident in a variety of ways. By learning about how addiction can influence personality, you can better understand the nature of your own addiction, as well as a loved one’s. Here are some of the most significant ways substance use shapes your personality.

Character Traits Associated With Addiction

Addiction is not experienced by everyone in the same way. With this in mind, it’s important to note that there are no universal signs of an addictive disorder. The symptoms of substance abuse can vary greatly from one person to the next.

However, experts who have observed the behavior of those with addictions noticed that most of them share a handful of core personality traits. Below are several key characteristics that tend to be associated with alcohol or drug addiction.


In an effort to conceal their addictive behavior, many people who struggle with substance abuse tell lies to the people they love. They might neglect to tell the truth for various reasons, such as to hide their whereabouts or to cover up the fact that they’re struggling financially as a result of their addiction.

People living with substance abuse may become more skilled at lying as their addiction grows more severe. They might also find themselves lying more often to fly under the radar. As a result, their friends and family members may fail to notice that they are struggling.


The cognitive effects of addiction are real, and they can affect a person’s memory in notable ways. Those struggling with addiction may often find that they have no recollection of their actions, especially while they’re under the influence. This can include little things, such as a conversation they recently had, or bigger things, like a work assignment that they were supposed to complete.

This can put a considerable amount of strain on their relationships and family life. In addition, addicts will likely experience problems at work if they are regularly failing to meet their deadlines or neglecting other important responsibilities.


Many people who are in the grips of addiction act out in violent or aggressive ways. Even if this isn’t typical of them, they might resort to this behavior as a result of their substance abuse. For example, if someone calls out their secretive behavior or verbally attacks their addiction, the addict may respond aggressively. This sudden change in personality can be upsetting for their loved ones to witness.

If an addict’s friends and family members actively discourage their self-destructive behavior, they will begin to view them as the enemy and distance themselves from them. Sadly, this can lead to many fractured relationships over time.


Although it is more commonly associated with drug abuse, paranoia can also occur in those living with addiction. Paranoia is defined as an irrational sense of mistrust or suspicion toward other people. Those who are paranoid are generally leery of others and have the feeling that someone is out to get them. This can cause them to act in ways that are atypical of them.

As a result of this abnormal behavior, it can be difficult for addicts to build and maintain relationships. This can cause them to feel isolated from others as their addiction continues to progress.

Long-Term Effects of Addiction

As an individual’s personality evolves due to addiction, there are other effects that may take place over time. As explained above, addiction is known to have a severe impact on a person’s academic or professional career. Not only are they more likely to miss important deadlines and fall behind on their assignments, but it’s also common for addicts to struggle with a lack of motivation, which directly impacts their performance.

Harmed or lost relationships are another common long-term effect of drug and alcohol addiction. When an individual puts their family in financial distress or lies constantly as a result of their addiction, it can be difficult for their family members to trust them. This can also take place in the addict’s friendships or romantic relationships.

There are numerous long-term effects of addiction that can’t be predicted early on. That’s why it’s crucial to reach out for help as soon as possible if you or a loved one is struggling.

Be the Person You Were Meant to Be

It’s easy to see how addiction can alter your behavior and personality in numerous ways. However, change is possible. By finding the right treatment program for your specific needs and goals, you can free yourself from the chains of your addiction and become who you were meant to be.

The addiction specialists at Topsail can help you get there. Contact us today to learn more about our wide range of treatment options.

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