Common Personality Traits and Changes in People with Alcohol Addiction

March 19, 2021

Addictive substances such as alcohol affect different parts of the brain. These include the elements responsible for planning, decision-making, and pleasure-seeking. Unsurprisingly, when someone starts to develop a hi-jacked brain because of Alcohol use disorder (AUD), some aspects of their characteristics change.

A study highlights that increased intake of alcohol may contribute to harmful changes in a person’s character. It also acknowledges some personalities are more prone to being addicted to alcohol. The same study says, “it could become a vicious cycle of increased alcohol intake affecting the personality, and then the harmful changes in the personality resulting in increased alcohol consumption.” 

It is not always easy to tell if a person you care about is addicted to alcohol since the substance is not illegal. It is usually served in get-togethers or easily bought at convenience stores. To help you discern a drinking problem with a loved one, listed here are some common traits and outlook changes of people with alcohol addiction.

If you recognize you or a loved one is alcohol dependent after reading the list, we encourage you to seek professional help as soon as possible. If you know you need help and might be looking for a treatment center, you may want to check out this alcohol rehab in Arizona.


According to the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, AUD prevents the patient from controlling their alcohol intake despite its adverse effects on their health, relationships, or profession. A person may go to school or work drunk or with a severe hangover.

Some may become involved in unsafe sex, drunk driving, or other dangerous activities because of alcohol. All these happen because their brain is not able to rationalize the consequences.

Being Neglectful

Suppose your loved one suddenly misses regular appointments, neglects commitments, or performs poorly at school or work; in that case, these instances may be caused by their addiction to alcohol. Alcohol use disorder can also become a significant factor in self-neglect, especially in older adults.

They can neglect their food intake and suffer malnutrition. Older adults with alcohol addiction can also have chronic health problems, resulting in early death. 

Being Sickly

Some studies conclude that people with alcohol use disorder will more likely seek help from doctors for their alcohol-related medical problems than specifically from the alcohol drinking itself. Those who abuse alcohol have shown to have a greater risk of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and stomach bleeding.

They are also at a greater risk of having cancer of the oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum. 

Financial Problems

Alcohol dependence can lead to severe financial problems. Heavy drinkers may suffer from other financial issues other than spending too much on alcohol.

They may also lose employment opportunities and have lower wages. Since they tend to be reckless, it increases their medical and legal expenses. Their eligibility for loans also decreases.


Those with drinking problems may have lapses in their memory. Most of the time, they might not remember their behavior and actions when they consumed alcohol. They may also blackout frequently when drinking.  

Too much Focus on Alcohol

When alcohol or other substance addiction sets in, people want to consume more because the brain’s reward system has already been affected. AUD can also make one feel anxious and stressed when not intoxicated. At this stage, people often use alcohol to keep from feeling bad rather than to enjoy the pleasurable effects.

Because of this, a person may make excuses to be in a bar or any place that serves alcohol. They may choose events that serve alcohol over those that don’t.  

Low Self-Esteem

Alcohol is a mind-altering substance. Some drinkers may feel very confident when intoxicated with alcohol, but being dependent on alcohol may take a toll on an individual long-term. Some with alcohol dependence may want to have a confidence boost by being drunk. However, it may also imply missed commitments, financial struggles, and relational problems.

Failing in these life aspects may make a person with alcohol problems feel like they are hopeless. To escape, they may think of drinking again to feel a sense of confidence, even for a short time.

There are pieces of evidence linking alcohol problems with low self-esteem as users tend to look at themselves in a more negative light. Studies also show that women who have problems with alcohol have lower self-esteem than men with alcohol problems.

Low self-esteem may make them feel hopeless, but that feeling of hopelessness is a lie. Recovery is not impossible, and help is available.


Studies have shown that alcohol dependence and depression are more severe when they are co-occurring. If someone you know starts to show depression symptoms such as self-loathing, loss of energy, sleep changes, weight fluctuations, and a general sense of hopelessness, then maybe it is time to reach out to them and help them find professional help.


Maybe you recognize some of the listed personality traits in a loved one or yourself. Perhaps you are not sure if alcohol is already a problem. Either way, you may consult a professional to know if detoxification and therapy are needed. Detoxification must be done safely under medical professionals’ supervision as withdrawal from alcohol can cause mild to severe symptoms. Treatment programs for alcohol addiction must be evidence-based and holistic to reduce the risk of a possible relapse.

Treatment may include cognitive-behavioral treatment, grief therapy, individual counseling, group therapy, and trauma-focused therapy. It may feel intimidating to start the rehabilitation process but consulting with professionals means having guidance from the initial steps until full recovery. If you would like to learn more and explore alcohol rehab centers in Chandler, Arizona, you may give us a call at 866-283-7052.


Alcohol addiction, like other substance addiction, affects the brain in different ways. It affects its decision-making capabilities, its reward system, and its pleasure-seeking mechanism. Because of these changes, a person with alcohol addiction will also have some personality changes. Some of the common personality traits or personality changes in an alcohol-dependent are forgetfulness, being neglectful, recklessness, low self-esteem, depressive personality, and too much focus on alcohol.