What is sudden personality changes?
What triggers sudden personality changes?
Personality changes and drug abuse
Treatments of sudden personality changes.
A sudden, undesired or uncontrollable change in your personality may be the sign of a severe condition or addiction. Several mental illnesses can lead to personality changes. These include anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, dementia, and schizophrenia. Co-occurring disorders may also contribute to personality disorder.
What Is Sudden Personality Change?
Personality change refers to a shift in the way you think, act or feel. It may be noticeable to you, or it may be evident to people close to you.
A personality change occurs when a person has a dramatic change in appearance, actions, mindset, opinions or feelings. Gradual personality change is normal, and it is even normal for a person to experience some personality change throughout adult life, especially as the result of failure or success. Gradual personality changes can be expected as you age and grow into adulthood sometimes because of certain factors contributing to adulthood's evolution. It is also normal for you to have changing behaviours or feelings based on your mood, but these changes are temporary. They can usually be attributed to a specific event or action. A sudden, undesired or uncontrollable change in your personality may be the sign of a severe condition or disorder. Still, personality changes that are uncontrollable, uncomfortable or anxiety-provoking may be a sign of a deeper problem that may need urgent attention. In mental illness, personality changes may result from an interplay of factors, including heredity, environment, emotions and stress. These types of changes typically emerge as one grows into adulthood. Most mental illnesses result from imbalances in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) and are treated with medication, therapy or support groups.
Being nonchalant in situations that would typically cause stress or aggravation is an example of a personality change.
Another example is being pleased to hear the tragic news.
Sudden personality changes can also result from brain damage or infection. What do you do if you or someone you love undergoes a significant personality change?
What Triggers sudden Personality Change in Adults?
Sometimes, personality change is a normal part of development. It can also result from a deliberate effort, drug addiction, mental disorder or therapy. Sometimes, however, personality change is unexpected, unwanted, or not controlled. These cases may be related to an underlying mental illness or damage to the brain.
Mental Illness and dual disorder can cause personality changes in adults. The following can trigger personality disorder :
anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can certainly trigger personality changes. Mental Illness can result from several factors, including experience, genetics or even physical injury or disease.
Substance abuse can also contribute to a change in adult personality. Drugs or alcohol can cause undesirable traits and attitudes in adults over time.
If substance abuse interacts with a mental illness or physical illness, this can lead to a co-occurring disorder, making all problems worse.
Physical Illness can trigger personality changes. Stroke, brain infection, infection or injury can be severe problems.
Symptoms and signs of personality changes
Personality change may accompany other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the brain may also affect other body systems.
These symptoms include:
Mental Illness includes • Anxiety, Depression, Detachment, harmful behaviours, Hostility, Recurrent, unwanted, suicidal thoughts, Repeated, uncontrollable actions (compulsions), Social isolation, unstable and unpleasant moods, hallucinations.
Non-mental symptoms include: Change in appetite, changes in consciousness, confusion, headaches, etc.
Causes a sudden personality change?
Bad news, grief and disappointment can cause a usually happy person to become downtrodden. Sometimes, a person's mood can be altered for weeks or months after hearing the devastating news. However, mood changes aren't the same as personality changes.
More so, some people experience unusual or strange behaviour for years, which may occur due to an illness or injury. A person may experience a change in their demeanour after experiencing a traumatic situation or witnesses an unpleasant event.
These behavioural changes may be caused by a mental health condition, such as:
• Anxiety happens when a person feels nervous or uneasy about a situation. It's normal to experience some anxiety, but it may be a sign of general anxiety disorder when it occurs regularly without provocation.
• Panic attacks: these periods of extreme fear. Sometimes, the fear looks irrational. Such situations include a person having a panic attack when seeing an elevator or speaking in public.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder: PSTD is a mental health condition marked by extreme fear, flashbacks, and in some cases, hallucinations. PTSD is triggered by memories of trauma, such as a terrorist attack or car accident.
• Bipolar disorder causes a person to have extreme fluctuations in mood. Mood changes can include euphoria and severe depression and alter how a person reacts to specific interactions or situations, depending on their mood state.
• Schizophrenia: which makes it challenging to think, to comprehend situations effectively, to behave as typically in social causes, and to distinguish between what is and isn't real.
Medical conditions that cause a fluctuation in hormone levels can also cause strange or unusual behaviour. These conditions include:
• PMS (premenstrual syndrome )
• Male menopause(andropause)
• Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, respectively)
Medical emergencies can also cause strange or unusual behaviour. These situations include:
• Heart Attack
Other medical conditions or circumstances that may cause personality changes to include:
Frontal lobe damage personality changes
An injury to the brain's frontal lob, located underneath the forehead, may lead to symptoms including a personality change.
The frontal lobe is the “control panel” for our personality. It's also responsible for our:
• emotional expression
• cognitive skills
The most common brain injury is damage to the frontal lobe. Among the possible causes are:
• blows to the head
• car accidents
Personality change after stroke
After you experience a stroke, during which a blood vessel in your brain ruptures or the oxygen supply to your brain is interrupted, you may have symptoms including a personality change.
Some stroke survivors suffer apathy. They don't seem to care about anything.
Others, especially survivors of strokes in the brain's right hemisphere, may neglect one side of their body or objects. For example, they may ignore one side of their body or food on one side of a plate.
Following a frontal lobe or right hemisphere stroke, some people may experience impulsive behaviour. This may include being incapable of thinking ahead or understanding the consequences of their actions.
Brain tumour personality changes
A brain tumour in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, or parts of the cerebrum can cause personality changes.
For example, someone who was easy to get along with could become irritable. An active person could become more passive.
Mood swings, such as quickly becoming angry after feeling happy, may also occur.
Personality changes with dementia
Dementia, which is affected by illness or injury, harms at least two cognitive brain functions.
Cognitive brain functions include:
The loss of neurons (cells) in the brain's frontal lobe can cause people with mild dementia to experience personality changes such as becoming more withdrawn or depressed.
People with moderate dementia may experience more substantial personality changes, such as becoming agitated and suspicious of others.
Adderall and personality changes
The prescription drug Adderall is the brand name for the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It's mainly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The known effects of stimulants like Adderall are new or increased hostility and aggressive behaviour. However, this seems to be related to the misuse of the medication.
Children and teenagers may have a new psychotic disorder.
Alcohol addiction to personality changes
Alcohol addiction, also called alcoholism, is an illness that changes the brain and neurochemistry. These growths can cause a personality change.
People with alcohol addiction may come to be increasingly depressed and lethargic. They may have lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment. They become verbally or physically abusive.
Personality changes with age
Your personality can continue to develop throughout your lifetime.
Studies suggest that the big five personality traits — conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and introversion/extroversion — remain stable once people reach adulthood.
Researchers compared the results of adolescents' personality tests in 1950 with those taken by the same people at age 77. The test results suggested that personality may slowly change during someone's life and be very different when they're older.
This study did have some methodology limitations, and more work is needed in this area.
Personality changes in the elderly
Minor personality changes in older adults, such as becoming more irritable or agitated, are not unusual. Extreme personality changes, such as a passive person becoming very controlling, could sign dementia due to changes in the brain's frontal lobe.
A study suggests that older adults have different personality traits than younger people. For example, neuroticism tended to increase in adults in their 80s.
Some people may revert to a younger age as they grow older. This could be a sign of depression or a way to cope with ageing.
Personality changes after concussion
This is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by an impact on your head. Sometimes the symptoms may linger in what is known as post-concussion syndrome.
Symptoms may include:
• a personality change, in some cases
An injury to the brain may affect how you understand and express emotions. It could also result in a personality change due to your emotional reaction to your life's changes brought about by the brain injury.
Therapy or counselling may help you understand your feelings.
Personality changes after a heart attack
While it's not uncommon to feel anxious or depressed after a heart attack, these feelings are usually only temporary. However, some people may feel depressed for weeks after the heart attack.
A good percentage of people who've had heart attacks experience depression to some degree.
If your depression is severe, you should see a healthcare provider. Without treatment t, it could lead to an increased risk for another heart attack.
While a passive personality change isn't unusual, a sudden change can be caused by an injury or Illness.
Look for the following signs to determine if strange or unusual behaviour is an emergency:
• weak pulse
• clammy skin
• rapid heart rate
• rapid breathing
• shallow breathing
• Low blood pressure
• difficulty talking
• shooting pains in the arms or legs
• pain in the chest
• visual changes
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 dementia. Opiates like heroin, morphine, codeine and opium can lead to dementia, delirium, psychosis and unusual or dangerous behaviour. Many problems accompany substance use which may come from dysfunctional patterns of behaviour maintained over time with high stability in part.
Treatment of sudden personality disorder
The treatment that's best for you depends on your particular personality disorder, severity, and life situation, which may have contributed to the condition as you grew into adulthood. Often, a team approach is needed to ensure all of your psychiatric, medical and social needs are met. Because personality disorders are long-standing, treatment may require months or years. Treatment includes:
Hospital Nd residential treatment programs.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please call us now. We offer a 24 hour, toll-free, completely confidential helpline that can help you and your family to learn more about personality change and assisting resources to that work. Our counsellors can help you learn more about your options to make an informed, non-pressured decision about your health care. We can even help you work with your insurance provider to arrange treatment. Please call, and find out how we can help you today.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.