Skip to main content
A couple drinking wine and experiencing alcohol personality changes.

Can alcohol change your personality? Learn about personality changes when drinking alcohol & discover world-class addiction support.

Have you ever noticed a dramatic shift in someone’s personality and behaviors after consuming a few too many cocktails?

Maybe this describes a friend or someone in your family; or perhaps it exemplifies how your personality and attitude have completely changed since alcoholism took root in your life. The thing is, most people struggling with an alcohol use disorder ignore all of the warning signs that their alcohol consumption tends to reveal.

From the physical toll that alcoholism can have on your life to the manner in which it can infect and erode your social connections and relationships, alcoholism changes you from the inside out and negatively impacts every aspect of your life.

Understanding how your alcohol use disorder has progressed and impacted your personality and behavior is important to process. Dropping the veil and facing the person you have become is an essential first step to identifying that a problem actually exists. Then, wholeheartedly accepting the fact that asking for help is okay is the next, vital step.

So, how does alcoholism change your personality? How does it impact your behaviors, and how do you conduct yourself around others?

For most people struggling with alcohol addiction, the way alcoholism has affected their life varies. But in every case, the results are never positive.

Can Alcohol Change Your Personality?

Recent studies have shown that alcoholism does in fact have harmful effects on your personality and behaviors. A study that used over 39,000 adult participants from Germany, Australia and the United States showed that those who reported excessive alcohol consumption displayed signs of lower emotional stability and decreased affability.

The results highlighted a vicious cycle where alcoholism contributes to harmful personality changes, which in turn leads to increased alcohol consumption. The negative impact alcoholism has on one’s personality is attributed to alcohol-induced changes to the brain.

These include:

Heightened Stress Reactivity

This term is referring to someone who is threat reactive – or having a low threshold for threat – when a perceived threat triggers an excessive stress response. This is mentally and physically draining, since a majority of perceived threats while heavily inebriated are fabrications of the mind.

Additionally, even when the alcohol wears off, this heightened sense of threat continues to remain, increasing negative physical responses and perpetually driving a sense of doom with no specific instigator or source.

Impaired Cognitive Control

Cognitive control refers to processes that allow information processing and behavior to vary adaptively from moment to moment depending on current goals, rather than remaining rigid and inflexible.

When this natural function is impaired by alcoholism, the results negatively impact everything from daily decision making to social interactions with everyone around you.1

Examples of How Personality Changes When Drinking Alcohol

We’ve all heard the sayings, “They’re a happy drunk,” or “When they drink, they become
a different person”. But we never really stop to think about how impactful these phrases actually are.

The fact is, alcoholism has damaging effects on both your physical health and mental wellbeing. This is exemplified in the manner in which alcoholism fundamentally changes your personality, transforming you into a different person with different temperaments and responses to those around you.

Which of the following personality traits associated with excessive alcohol consumption and alcoholism do you align with?

Excessive Irritability and Anger

For some, alcohol is like throwing gas on a fire: it enflames the burning coals of anger that you typically can control. This is directly linked to impaired cognitive functioning and the decreased ability to problem solve without losing your temper.

Decreased Self-Control and Excessive Promiscuity

While some people look to act out aggressively when consuming alcohol excessively, others are drawn to satisfy their feelings of lust. Our culture has reinforced the link between alcohol use and sexual promiscuity, and for an alcoholic, these feelings can become overwhelming when inebriated.

Feelings of Increased Depression

Alcohol is a depressant, fundamentally inhibiting the functioning of the central nervous system. This can result in excessive depressive symptomatology, which induces bouts of emotional instability within some alcoholics. Whether related to stress or pent-up feelings, this personality response to alcohol use has been linked to increased suicidal thoughts and self-harm attempts.

Whichever category or experience you find yourself having while consuming alcohol, it is
imperative that the short-term and long-term effects of alcoholism never be ignored. The manner in which excessive alcohol use can destroy the physical body and erode the mind is nothing to take lightly.

Understanding how your alcoholism is impacting your life and those around you can be ascertained by asking a few simple questions to those you love and who you know have your
best interests in mind.

Taking the time to start the conversation is all it takes to begin your journey down that road to addiction recovery and personal happiness.

Christian-Based Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

Getting sober is a life-altering event. It takes an all-encompassing approach to navigate the entire recovery process and arrive at a healthy, sober mental and physical state.

At Covenant Hills, your whole person health will be addressed through our Christian-based alcoholism treatment program. You mind, body, soul and spirit will be met with expert, compassionate care and support that can help you reclaim overall health that not only benefits you, but also your entire family.

In addition to our alcoholism treatment, we also offer world-class therapy and unparalleled relapse prevention curriculum.

Learn more about our Christian-based alcohol addiction treatment program, or contact
us for a free and confidential assessment.


1 Cambridge Core. Alcohol use and personality trait change: pooled analysis of six cohort studies. Accessed December 15, 2018.