Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form a person’s distinctive character. Your habits, reactions, mannerisms, and thinking are all part of your personality. But some health conditions can affect the way you think and behave, which can collectively change your personality.
For instance, even if you’re down with a simple cold or flu, your behavior changes noticeably. However, most of the ailments that have a huge impact in altering your personality are mental health conditions. Here are a few health conditions that can affect your personality.
Depression has become a common mental health disorder that is affecting millions of people globally. From the youth to the elderly, it affects people of all ages. Most chronic mood disorders, such as depression, begin as high levels of anxiety in children.1
Depression not only affects your mood, but also your thoughts, your memory, and how you make decisions. It changes your perspective of the world and makes you feel that life is not worth living. Depression causes mood changes that can be very different in men and women. Women often feel worthless, sad, and guilty, while men tend to feel tired, irritated, and angry.
2. Thyroid Disease
The thyroid gland produces hormones, which are necessary for all the cells in your body to work normally. Overproduction of these hormones can make you irritable, anxious, and cause major mood swings. Underproduction of these hormones by the thyroid gland makes your personality seem flat.
You may become forgetful and have difficulty in thinking clearly. If left untreated, it can cause long-lasting or permanent effects on your brain. While patients with hypothyroidism commonly manifest features of depression, hyperthyroidism presents with a wider spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms including both depression and anxiety.2
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease affects your thinking, judgment, memory, and decision-making capability. You may feel confused and not know how to act. In its initial stages, you may be anxious or more easily annoyed. Over time, it may have more serious health implications.
Depression and anxiety are common, especially during the initial stages when patients might have insight and are aware of their memory deficits.3 A friendly and easily adjusting person may become bossy and demanding. People who would worry or get stressed unnecessarily may suddenly become easygoing and content.
4. Dementia With Lewy Bodies
This is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Clumps of unusual proteins known as Lewy bodies form in the areas of your brain that control memory, movement, and thinking.4 So, this disorder affects you both mentally and physically. People with this condition may become more passive.
This disorder only worsens over time and those who suffer from it may show little emotion and may lose interest in hobbies and other activities. Other symptoms may include fluctuations in alertness, hallucinations, slow movement, trouble walking, and rigidity.
5. Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is associated with motor fluctuations where many patients also develop mood fluctuations.5 Though it begins as mild shakiness in your hand, Parkinson’s can eventually affect how you walk, talk, sleep, and think.
Initially, it may cause the person to do things like obsessing over small details or a sudden carelessness. Later, they may seem absent-minded or not as social as they once were. It is also harder to keep their thoughts focused.
6. Brain Tumor
A tumor in your brain’s frontal lobe can adversely affect the areas that are associated with your personality, emotions, problem-solving, and memory. When these areas of the brain are affected by tumor, you may feel confused or forgetful. It may also result in mood swings, make you more aggressive, or trigger paranoid thoughts. Various factors can cause changes in behavior in patients with brain tumors.
The location, size, and rate of growth of the tumor can impact how a patient behaves. Even treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy can affect how the patient feels and behaves. The psychological and emotional effects of brain tumors also must be considered.6 Even certain types of cancer can change a person’s behavior. Tumors in the brain or the spinal cord or even the pituitary gland, which controls your hormone levels, can affect personality.
When blood supply to a part of your brain stops, the cells in that area are deprived of oxygen and begin dying. The effects also depend on how long the stroke lasts and where in the brain it occurs. Some parts of your body may become immobile, which can alter your personality in many ways.
You may become impatient more easily, experience serious mood swings, or act more impulsively than you did before. Mood and emotional disturbances are frequent symptoms in stroke survivors. These symptoms are distressing for both the patients and their caregivers, and negatively influence your quality of life.7
8. Traumatic Brain Injury
A serious blow to the head can change the personality of a person. In extreme cases, you may feel that you’re a different person and say or do things that you would never have in the past. Disorders of mood are common consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI).8
Certain parts of the brain such as the hippocampus are more vulnerable to damage from injuries. Disruption in hippocampal functioning and morphology has been described in cognitive and depressive disorders.9
9. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) makes you anxious and prevents you from controlling your thoughts and urges. People with OCD may repeatedly wash their hands even if they’re clean. They are prone to self-doubt and may take a long time to complete easy tasks.
Criticism worsens the condition as it only increases your anxiety. OCD is considered an anxiety disorder that may also occur along with other neuropsychiatric disorders and especially with other anxiety and mood disorders.10
|↑1||Depression: What You Need To Know. national Institute of Mental Health.|
|↑2||Hage, Mirella P., and Sami T. Azar. “The link between thyroid function and depression.” Journal of thyroid research 2012 (2012).|
|↑3||Neugroschl, Judith, and Sophia Wang. “Alzheimer’s disease: diagnosis and treatment across the spectrum of disease severity.” Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine: A Journal of Translational and Personalized Medicine 78, no. 4 (2011): 596-612.|
|↑4||McKeith, I., Mintzer, J., Aarsland, D., Burn, D., Chiu, H., Cohen-Mansfield, J., Dickson, D., Dubois, B., Duda, J.E., Feldman, H. and Gauthier, S., 2004. Dementia with Lewy bodies. The Lancet Neurology, 3(1), pp.19-28.|
|↑5||Richard, Irene Hegeman, Samuel Frank, Kori A. LaDonna, Hongkun Wang, Michael P. McDermott, and Roger Kurlan. “Mood fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study comparing the effects of intravenous and oral levodopa administration.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 1, no. 3 (2005): 261.|
|↑6||Mood Swings and Cognitive Changes. American Brain Tumor Association. 2014.|
|↑7||Kim, Jong S. “Post-stroke mood and emotional disturbances: pharmacological therapy based on mechanisms.” Journal of stroke 18, no. 3 (2016): 244.|
|↑8||Jorge, Ricardo E., and David B. Arciniegas. “Mood disorders after TBI.” The Psychiatric clinics of North America 37, no. 1 (2014): 13.|
|↑9||Schwarzbold, Marcelo, Alexandre Diaz, Evandro Tostes Martins, Armanda Rufino, Lúcia Nazareth Amante, Maria Emília Thais, João Quevedo, Alexandre Hohl, Marcelo Neves Linhares, and Roger Walz. “Psychiatric disorders and traumatic brain injury.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 4, no. 4 (2008): 797.|
|↑10||Murphy, Dennis L., Kiara R. Timpano, Michael G. Wheaton, Benjamin D. Greenberg, and Euripedes C. Miguel. “Obsessive-compulsive disorder and its related disorders: a reappraisal of obsessive-compulsive spectrum concepts.” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience 12, no. 2 (2010): 131.|