Everyone who has an alcohol addiction began drinking for a different reason, but many of the stories and circumstances are similar.  You may have wanted to relax after a long day, increase your confidence in social situations, or fit in with the crowd. Many of the reason we drink come from a desire to change something about ourselves, such as our shyness or fear of being judged.  Unfortunately, with some of these changes that we hope will be positive, alcohol also creates negative personality shifts, especially in those who develop an addiction. Becoming aware of the many unpleasant ways alcohol may be changing your personality can help you to identify a problem, as well as give you so much to look forward to once you begin your recovery journey.

Increased Reactivity and Anger

A common side effect of alcohol use, especially in those who have an addiction, is the inclination to become extremely reactive and easily upset by small inconveniences or imagined threats.  Alcohol can impair your ability to accurately assess a physical or emotional threat, meaning that you may become overly upset at something someone says or feel as if you are being attacked when that is not the case.  This effect can cause you to become paranoid as well, making it feel as if everyone is out to get you. This feeling can persist even after you become sober, leading to a period of time that some refer to as hangover anxiety.  This can create a perpetual cycle of alcohol abuse that causes you to drink to fend off a sense of impending doom, only to lead to more anxiety and feelings of being threatened. Additionally, this is why some drinkers are quick to jump into verbal or physical fights with others when they are intoxicated.  While the reason for fighting may be small, it can seem monumental in the moment because of the effects of alcohol.

Decreased Self-Control

Alcohol use tends to lower our inhibitions, and for people who abuse this addictive drug, this can mean acting in ways they normally wouldn’t.  Under the influence of alcohol, some individuals may become overly sexual, engaging in acts they otherwise wouldn’t, and perhaps failing to use protection.  You may also be more inclined to participate in other high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence or using other drugs. Even if you are sure you don’t want to do any of these things when you are sober, becoming extremely intoxicated can alter your ability to control your actions and make decisions, leading to behaviors that aren’t true to who you are.  

Worsened Mental Health

Whether you have always struggled to maintain mental wellness, or you have never had a mental health issue in your life, alcohol can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Many people use alcohol to manage their mental health issues, perhaps drinking to quell anxiety or numb themselves from emotional pain. Unfortunately, these effects are only temporary and lead to worsened symptoms later.  For those who have never struggled with mental illness, abusing alcohol can bring on anxiety and issues with depression by inhibiting the function of the central nervous system and causing emotional instability. Someone who is generally positive and upbeat may develop a negative personality with bouts of severe depression and hopelessness after abusing alcohol.

Lack of Motivation

Developing any addiction tends to lead to an inability to accomplish goals.  Alcohol can decrease your motivation in the present moment by causing you to not care about important aspects of your life like work and school. and will likely lead to an overall decrease in productivity over time.  As your addiction worsens, your priorities will begin to change, eventually bringing you to a mental space where you are not able to see past your next drink. This can make it nearly impossible to perform well at work or at home, and lead to months and years passing by without much to show for it.  

An Inability to Maintain Relationships

Just as alcohol makes it difficult to perform professionally and academically, it may also be difficult to live up to obligations and acts of support in relationships.  This means that marriages, friendships, and parent-child relationships almost always suffer as a result of alcohol addiction. This is especially concerning for those who have small children and begin to neglect their duties as a parent.  No matter how much you love those closest to you, it is impossible to be there for them in active addiction as you would in sobriety. Abusing alcohol tends to lead to selfish choices, significant absences, and the shattering of trust.  

The good news is that with the right resources, recovery is possible.  A sober lifestyle can give you back control, improve mental health, increased motivation, and lead to profound healing in your relationships.  If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, now is the time to reach out for help. At Burning Tree, you will find knowledgeable and compassionate professionals that structure treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders. Through accountability and commitment to the 12 Steps, each client will develop the tools to create a sober lifestyle and find lasting recovery. We specialize in the treatment of chronic relapsers and believe with the right support, you can experience real and permanent healing. For more information, call us now at 866-287-2877.