Sudden Personality Changes in Adults

What do you do if you or someone you love undergoes a big personality change? Learn the warning signs of a deeper problem associated with sudden personality changes in adults. If a loved one has been acting strangely or suddenly concerning you with unusual behavior, it may be time to seek help.

What Is a Personality Change?

A personality change occurs when a person has a dramatic change in appearance, actions, opinions or feelings. Gradual personality change is normal, and it is even normal for a person to experience some personality change over the course of adult life, especially as the result of trauma or success. But personality changes that are uncontrollable, uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking may be a sign of a deeper problem.

What Causes a Personality Change in Adults?

Mental illness can cause personality changes in adults. Issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD can certainly cause personality changes. Mental illness can be a result of a number of factors including experience, genetics or even physical injury or illness.

Substance abuse can also change an adult personality. Drugs or alcohol can literally rewire the brain and create personality traits in yourself or a loved one that were never previously present. Drugs and alcohol can cause brain damage—either permanent or temporary. If substance abuse interacts with a mental illness or physical illness, it can make all problems become worse.

Finally, physical illness can cause personality changes. Stroke, brain infection, infection or injury can be serious problems. It is always important to see a doctor to rule out any of these highly dangerous physical illnesses. Dementia, Alzheimer’s and even body issues like digestive disease or heart disease can all cause personality changes and require immediate attention.

Personality Changes and Drug Use

There is no doubt that drug use can cause personality changes. Stimulants like Ritalin and cocaine can make a person manic. Depressants like alcohol, marijuana or benzodiazepines can lead to depression, apathy, and even some dementia. Opiates like heroin, morphine, codeine and opium can lead to dementia, delirium, psychosis and unusual or dangerous behavior. If someone you love is using drugs, or you suspect that someone you love is using drugs, call us now.