It’s a gross understatement to innocently state that addiction is life altering. Many of us, whether you personally struggle with addiction or not, are fully cognizant of what addiction can do to relationships, careers, personal finances, and other varying life factors. But, perhaps the biggest impact of addiction is what it can do to our brains. Prolonged substance abuse disrupts the balance of neurotransmitters and even changes the structure of your brain. As a professional addiction treatment center in New Jersey, North Jersey Rehabs has garnered much experience in deciphering the correlation between addiction and the change in brain chemistry. Today we will discuss addiction and personality.
The short answer on whether addiction impacts your personality is, without a doubt, a resounding yes. Addiction can alter your personality in ways that can make you seem like an entirely different person to others in your life. This person might do things that make you think “this is definitely not you!” These questions will continue to come up as you struggle to understand the motivations behind these behaviors. Unfortunately, scientific research has confirmed that addiction does indeed change our brains. Various types of drugs affect the brain in different ways, but most drugs will produce powerful waves of dopamine that are both addictive and harmful.
Consistent drug abuse will impact the brain’s pleasure center and plays a vital role in memory and learning. When an individual continues to abuse these substances, he or she essentially re-trains their brain to seek out drugs. Often, this will produce many of the behavioral changes that we usually see in addicts. As drugs and alcohol continue to be at the epicenter of that person’s life, he or she will demonstrate a preference for these substances over relationships, school, work, and even life itself.
The following traits are what our addiction treatment center in New Jersey believes are some of the most telling, when it comes to the negative impacts of addiction on personality.
Someone suffering from substance abuse issues will frequently become secretive and will make more of a conscious effort to protect their privacy. It could mean they are less talkative in social settings or more suspicious when people are asking them questions. They might even be wary of others that are trying to get information out of them, and a vast majority of sufferers will spend a good portion of their time in isolation. Additionally, the individual might make a choice to not divulge where they have been and what they have been doing. The reasons for this are countless. For one, they are acutely aware of the fact that their friends and family would not approve of their drinking or drug use. They might not approve of it at all, or will be quick to call it out as excessive. This usually indicates the user, themselves, is aware on some level that they have an issue. Secondly, they may be getting access to illicit substances or illegally obtaining controlled substances. Other concerns could be centered around the possibility of legal issues or getting others in trouble.
One of the main characteristics of addiction is that it becomes the most important aspect of your life, rendering everything else as less important, or even “demoting” it. For some, they take much joy in spending a good chunk of their time with family, playing sports, rebuilding cars, or what have you. When the restraints you try to impose on addiction start to become less restricted, that is when these issues come about. Namely, losing interest in things you used to enjoy doing. Not only is this damaging for a wide variety of reasons, mostly because others in your life don’t want to come second to substance abuse.
It also means that instead of spending your time in building up these relationships, mastering skills, or creating something useful, you are just channeling all of your time and energy into using drugs and alcohol. Of course, this is unfortunate as much of our identity is contingent on how we spend our free time. A person’s job might tell you something about them, but not as much as what they do for fun.
Depression and anxiety can often coincide with a substance use disorder. Typically speaking, depression and anxiety come first, and someone develops a substance use disorder from self-medicating depression and anxiety symptoms. With that being said, addiction is more than capable of causing depression and anxiety. First, substances change the balance of your brain chemistry. Take, for example, the consumption of alcohol. Drinking it will relax you at first, since it enhances the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA, and diminishes the effect of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Once the brain adjusts to this change, causing a downswing in GABA production, and an uptick in glutamate production. What this does is increase the feelings of anxiety and agitation when you are not drinking. A similar change takes place with other substances as well.
Addiction and personality are two things that are anything but harmonious. North Jersey Rehabs specializes in treating various co-occurring disorders and ailments. Our New Jersey treatment programs are proud to house and serve patients from various counties within the state of New Jersey. If you or a loved one are in need of services from our addiction treatment center in New Jersey, contact us today!
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