With the American Opioid Crisis showing no signs of slowing down, there’s more of a chance than ever before that you know someone who has become addicted to this horrific class of drugs.
You may find it hard to reconcile the person you once knew — a happy, loving, and successful individual — with the addict who is in your life today. You know that their true self, the person they were before their addiction, is still inside of them somewhere.
You miss that person dearly, and it feels like you’d do anything to be able to bring them back.
If you’ve noticed and been hurt by the often drastic personality changes of an opioid addict, you’re not alone — and help is available for both you and the addict you care about.
In this post, we’ll tell you about some of the most common behavioral changes you can expect to experience. This may also be helpful in understanding whether or not someone in your life is currently abusing opioids.
1. Increased Lying and Secretiveness
One of the earliest personality changes that you may notice is constant, sometimes ludicrous, lying.
It doesn’t matter if the addict has been caught red-handed, or if there are a hundred different ways you can verify the fact that they’re not telling the truth.
The addict will continue to lie, often turning their issues around on you and accusing you of lying or of “interrogating” and “not trusting” them.
This will soon escalate to secretiveness.
They used to lie about where they were going and who they were with. Now, they sneak out of the house when you’re asleep or when you’re not home. They stay up in their rooms for long periods of time, they don’t pick up the phone, and they never offer any details about their plans.
2. They Become Selfish
Another erratic personality trait that you’ll likely notice in the opioid addict?
They become incredibly selfish.
If you can’t lend them money, drive them to a drug deal, or let them sleep in your home? You’re the worst parent in the world, you’re a horrible spouse, or you’re a child that never appreciated everything the addict sacrificed for you.
In some cases, their selfish behavior will directly impact, inconvenience, or even harm or risk the safety of other people.
They don’t care that they didn’t make it into work, that they missed their daughter’s ballet recital, or that they drove high out of their minds. Their ability to think about the needs of others or the consequences of their actions is gone.
Instead, they only care about one thing: getting their next fix.
3. They’re Depressed and Anxious
One of the biggest commonalities between opioid addicts and alcoholic behaviors and attitude is an overwhelming sense of depression in the addict.
Often, they talk about feeling worthless and hopeless. They say they know they’re a burden and that everyone would be better off without them. They feel it’s “too late” to turn their lives around.
They may isolate themselves, socially withdraw, and refuse to accept invitations from old friends. They don’t enjoy their hobbies and passions anymore. They may even make outright threats about killing themselves.
Additionally, they may seem extremely anxious, almost to the point of paranoia. They don’t trust you, they’re convinced that people are “out to get them,” and they may even speak in a nervous, fast, and erratic manner.
4. They’re Angry and Abusive
Anger is one of the most difficult personality changes in an opioid addict.
You and other loved ones likely feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around the addict — and you never can tell what’s going to set them off. They scream, cry, and rage over the smallest things, and you’ve never seen this level of anger from them before.
It’s scary. And more often than not, it can escalate into very real abuse.
This abuse can be both physical and emotional, and it’s especially devastating when young children are involved.
There is no reason for you to remain in an abusive situation. You have every right to get out and to protect yourself and other innocent people first.
Often, it’s this kind of abusive behavior that causes friends and family members to come up with ultimatums and boundaries to present to the addict.
This usually takes place during an intervention, right before encouraging the opioid addict to seek help.
5. They Indulge in Risk-Taking Behaviors
Before they became addicted to opioids, the person you knew would never have done things like trade sex for money, experiment with other drugs, or drain their bank account in a single night.
But that’s exactly the kind of person the addict in your life has become.
They’re constantly doing risky things and behaving impulsively.
They may decide to hop a train in the middle of the night, enter into a dangerous relationship, allow themselves to be physically and/or emotionally abused, or hang out in seedy areas.
If they have other health conditions, they may stop taking their medications.
They just don’t care anymore, and it seems like they no longer have any limits.
Are These Personality Changes Familiar to You?
If you have an addict in your life, then we suspect that many of these devastating personality changes will be familiar to you.
You may have experienced just a few of these changes, or all of them.
No matter what, you know one thing for sure: you want it to stop, and you want the person you love back.
We can help to make that happen.
We offer excellent rehab and drug treatments for a variety of addictions. When you’re ready to help your loved one get back on track, reach out to us on behalf of your loved one to learn how to get started.