Most people enjoy a drink now and again, and there’s nothing really wrong with that. When the balance is found, alcohol can be consumed without suffering any major changes physiologically, psychologically or emotionally.
However, too much alcohol can lead to personality changes. This might be short term or long term and it could be behavioral or emotional.
This can get rather complex and many can find it difficult to understand what these changes are and why they occur.
We’ve written this handy guide for you to understand how alcohol affects your personality along with other helpful tips.
Read on for more.
Personality And Alcohol Effects: At A Glance
Before we break this down further, it’s a good idea to look at what changes might occur at a glance.
- Risk taking or other risky behaviors
- Promiscuous behavior or “sleeping around”
- Friendship group completely changes
- Empty promises being made
- Denial and excuses for behavior
- Blaming everyone else for personal trouble
- Secret behaviors
- Avoiding obligations and commitments
- Violent, angry and aggressive or irritable
- Anxiety and depression
- Less control of the brain and cognitive function
- Less motivation
- Less likely to be agreeable
- Mood changes
- Rash reactions to stressful situations
- Volatile emotionally
- Embarrassment and shame
- Narcissistic tendencies
Personality And Alcohol Effects: In Depth
It’s now best that we take the above points into much more detail.
Short Term Changes
Due to the lowered inhibitions when we drink alcohol, more and more risky behaviors can occur. Some of these include drinking more, stronger alcohol (like shots), doing drugs, performing stunts, walking in the road or drink driving.
None of these things would typically be a choice for someone who is not under the influence.
This sort of feeds into the previous point as a risky behavior, due to many sexual encounters taking place unprotected.
Alcohol and sexual occurances have long been partnered. This is likely due to the effect that alcohol has on the brain, causing a feeling of lust and loneliness, but also because bars and nightclubs have long been places that people head to for love or sex.
Lack Of Self Control
There is an undeniable link between alcohol and a lack of personal self control. This leads to some of the above changes. As alcohol reduces your inhibitions, the choice to do things you wouldn’t normally do becomes easier.
This is partnered with alcohol’s ability to provide you with an overinflated feeling of self confidence and a lack of empathy.
Alcohol is a depressant and as a result, it can lead someone to a lack of motivation. This is particularly present when a person is dealing with hangover symptoms.
Anxiety And Depression
As we mentioned, alcohol is a depressant – so while the very short term feeling might seem that the drinker is happy, the effects will kick in and show their colors. This is made worse if the person is already dealing with depression or is an alcoholic.
Anxiety can be worsened through alcohol due to the feelings of embarrassment and shame, but can also be complicated through a rapid heart rate which alcohol can be attributed to.
Some people struggle with their anger when alcohol is introduced to the body. There are plenty of possibilities for this – but likely due to the amygdala (which regulates emotions).
It is a very sensitive part of the brain and when it is chemically altered, it can result in outbursts of anger.
Long Term Changes
Avoiding people is a common trait among those who have abused alcohol for a long time. There are two main reasons for this. First, alcohol as a depressant may lead to someone not feeling “ready” or “up for” meeting someone.
However, the second reason is arguably worse. An alcoholic or person struggling with their alcohol consumption may not wish to go somewhere where the access to alcohol is reduced.
This also may lead them to neglect their responsibilities and overall commitments, sometimes this can lead to serious consequences by losing access to their children or losing their house.
When a person’s drinking habits differ from their friends, they may seek out a new friendship group which is inclusive of alcohol on a regular basis.
These people may also partake in risky behaviors such as drug use, which can cause further behavioral changes in the person.
Alcohol is processed in the liver, and when the toxicity of the liver is higher – the likelihood of delusional thoughts and feelings is also increased.
This means the person drinking alcohol may struggle to know where they are or why. This leads to a complete change in someone’s confidence and lucidity.
Whilst this list is in no means exhaustive, these are some of the most common effects that are shown through alcohol and personality.
Are These Effects Permanent?
Not for the most part. Generally, the short term effects to your personality from alcohol will lessen through further periods of abstaining from alcohol.
If there is a reason that a person drinks more regularly, speaking with a counselor, doctor or therapist can seriously help them work through their problems on a more healthy platform.
Over time, a person’s personality will revert to their normal selves because the underlying reasons for a change are no longer present.
However, long term effects can change the amygdala receptors and they will need to be regulated correctly once again. This might mean getting expert help though, as this is normally down to severe alcoholism.
Once the person has sought help and recovered long enough, these receptors will begin to self regulate once again.
The Bottom Line
Alcohol can have serious effects on someone’s personality, so understanding the balance between alcohol and abstinence is critical.
For those who struggle with alcohol, it’s always best to seek help as soon as you can. It could save your life.