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How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Our Personalities

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The addictive substances we become dependent upon impact our lives in various destructive ways, and one of the most tangible ways is how much they affect our personalities and the way we function in our lives. Oftentimes we aren’t aware of the changes in our personalities, but the people in our lives, especially the ones who are closest to us and know us the best, notice significant changes in how we act, how we treat them, how we make them feel, and how we operate on a day-to-day basis. It can help us in the recovery process to take a closer look at some of the ways in which drugs can affect our personalities.

Many drugs, alcohol included, are known to be depressants, so on top of the existing depression, anxiety and other mental health issues we’re already experiencing, we’re now having the added depressive effects of the substances we’re consuming. This can cause us to feel even more down than we normally do, to experience worsened symptoms such as heightened panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, and to manifest these in different ways, such as how we appear to other people and how we treat them. We might take out our pain on the people around us. We might lash out, be extra reactive, be highly sensitive and easily triggered, and experience drastic mood swings. We might become increasingly angrier, more volatile and unkind.

The perceived changes in our personalities can be hard on the people around us, and we might want to be tempted to attribute the changes to the substances we’re using. We might not be ready to take a closer look at how these layers of personality traits might actually be inherent within us, with or without the substances. There are things we need to address, heal and examine in more depth. That is often where our personality changes are in fact coming from – unhealed pain and unresolved sources of trauma. Drugs and alcohol can bring these changes out and illuminate them with more overt clarity. They might show us where our weaknesses and challenges lie. These elements of our personalities, though, are part of who we are, and we can’t fully heal if we’re blaming them strictly on the substances we’re using. We want to get to the point where we can see how both addictive substances and our internal pain are impacting our personalities, and then do the healing and self-reflective work to address them fully.

At The Guest House Ocala, our recovery programs include many experiential modalities including traditional therapy, conscious connected breathwork, equine therapy, somatic experiencing, art in healing, grief therapy, mindfulness and other forms of therapy. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.