How Can Alcohol Make an Individual’s Personality Change?

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You may have noticed that your significant other, friend, or family member tends to act a bit differently when they’ve been drinking. For example, they may typically be shy and reserved sober, but after they’ve been drinking, they become the “life of the party”. Some people become very irritable and angry when they’re drunk – what accounts for these differences between people? Many studies have delved into this area to find out the exact cause.

A study published in Clinical Psychological Science involved the recruitment of 156 participants who were split into several groups and assessed on five of the major personality traits after consuming either Sprite or vodka and Sprite cocktails to induce a blood alcohol content of about .09. After a 15-minute absorption period, participants who drank alcohol reported lower levels of conscientiousness (being careful or vigilant), openness to experience (attentiveness to inner feelings, active imagination, etc.), and agreeableness (warm, friendly, tactful), with higher levels of extraversion (outgoing, talkative, energetic) and emotional stability (stable and balanced). Overall, this study could show that our perception of what a “drunk person” or a “sober person” looks like doesn’t pan out to mean the same for everyone.

As each person is different, it likely depends on the individual’s personality to begin with. For example, a 2016 study conducted by researchers from Finland found that individuals high on agreeableness and low on openness to experience are more likely to reduce alcohol consumption and lean more towards abstinence; where do you fit in? Many people who drink excessively are high sensation seekers – they tend to be more impulsive and use less perseverance because of their alcohol consumption. In addition, the way we handle our emotions can impact the way we think and act when we’re drunk. As alcohol tends to suppress our decision-making and emotion regulation strategies, people who suppress their anger are more likely to become more hostile when drinking.

If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism, make the decision to seek help today. Excessive drinking can have negative repercussions on your health, relationships, career aspirations, and more. Don’t wait any longer to reach out to a reputable treatment center.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.


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