Alcohol and drugs alter our brain chemistry and therefore how we think and behave.
Each drug affects an individual’s personality differently, but there are several parallels that can be drawn between them.
Let’s take a look at the indicators of addiction.
Can Addiction Change an Addict’s Behavior?
It sure can, and it will.
There’s nothing wrong with change, but in the case of drugs and alcohol, it’s never for the better.
As addicts fall deeper into addiction, their behavior and personalities might change to the point where they may seem completely different from the people they were before.
Using drugs and alcohol alters the chemistry of the brain by interfering with neuronal communication. The disruption of normal functioning creates imbalances that change behavior and personality.
In essence, drugs retrain the brain and re-wire it to respond differently.
It is common for different substances to have different effects on the brain and cause patients to exhibit a variety of odd behaviors.
For example, someone who abuses cocaine might be more inclined to act erratically or be paranoid. While marijuana users may behave in a more slow-paced manner, which reflects the drug’s effects.
Behavioral Signs of Addictive Behavior
Generally, drug-to-drug behaviors differ, but they share some similarities.
Let’s examine some of the most commonly shared signs of addictive behavior.
Addiction is characterized by obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
The condition is not only present in patients who abuse substances but also in those who are addicted to gambling.
Addiction can be considered an obsession in and of itself. This behavior is almost synonymous with what it entitles to being an addict.
Dishonest behaviors are typical indicators of addiction. Integrity is not only important in the external world but also internal. Addicts are almost always as dishonest with others as they can be with themselves.
Dishonesty goes hand-in-hand with addiction. So much so that getting honest with oneself is a fundamental part of any recovery program. After all, accepting addiction is a problem that begins with getting honest with oneself.
Loss of Control
In essence, addiction destroys self-will and self-control, which is why addicts can’t control their substance intake and ultimately end up addicted.
There are many ways in which loss of control manifests itself, some of them include::
- Lack of control with drugs
- The inability to abide by the law
- Inability to control one’s emotions
- Lack of self-awareness
- Inability to control behaviors
- Disregard of harm caused to themselves or others
The longer an addict spends in the addiction-hole, the more likely it is that substances will drive his or her behavior, and the less likely the addict will have control over their actions.
It is not uncommon for addicts and alcoholics to go to great lengths to maintain their addiction and satisfy their cravings. Manipulative behaviors are in fact one of the greatest indicators of addiction.
For the most part, they will do or say anything that gets them to their next fix or drink.
Addicts may also manipulate those around them to achieve what they want by using their addiction as an excuse.
Although manipulating and playing with other people’s emotions may seem sinister, the addict is not really doing it, but rather their disease is.
Mood swings, aggression, anxiety, and depression can all be signs of addictive behavior.
Many of these emotions can be present in people for a variety of reasons, but addicts and alcoholics display them more intensely and/or in combination with one another.
Paranoia and/or Isolation
Drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin, as well as alcohol, can cause the addict to experience a lot of fear and “darkness.”
Addicts who experience fear-based emotions can feel isolated and paranoid all the time. Paranoia can also be fueled by knowing they are doing something illegal.
In time, these temporary emotions become learned behaviors that change the addict’s personality.
There are many alcoholics and addicts who resort to crime as a way to support their addictions, but not all of them are criminals.
The addict might resort to taking things that are not theirs when manipulation fails and money runs out.
Unfortunately, statistics show that crime and drug consumption have a high correlation. Nearly 80% of inmates reportedly abuse drugs and alcohol, with 26% of arrests related to crime.
What To Do When Drugs and Alcohol Change Behaviors?
A loved one who has demonstrated some of the signs of addictive behavior listed above may be abusing drugs if you respond appropriately and seek help.
Outpatient LA offers an array of relapse prevention programs and cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic treatments that can help addicts re-learn positive behaviors and forget ill habits.
Contact Outpatient LA and one of our admission experts and behavioral therapist will be able to help you or your loved ones get sober.