How often have we heard, “That’s not like Billy Bob it must be the BOOZE talking”? It’s so common and expected. We all seem to understand that alcohol does can change a personality. Gentle people can become belligerent, and folks who are usually polite and spiritual can start “swearing like a trooper”. When the effects of the alcohol wear off, old Billy Bob returns to his “normal” state and Pottymouth Patty goes back to her innocence.
How often, though, do we hear someone explain a person’s behavior as, “that’s the antidepressant talking, that’s the stomach medicine talking, or he’s crabby because of his statin drugs”? Probably never, but in my experience, it is far more likely that behavior is routinely altered by one or more of the drugs they are using.
The effects can be mild or severe, but there is little doubt that they happen. The potential side effects are spelled out in every drug container. To make matters more complicated, most people who use prescription drugs are also using non-prescription drugs. Sometimes, they also use recreational drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco – all of which can have negative effects.
Our bodies are not designed to operate with foreign chemicals circulating in them. While they may be helpful over the short run, long-term drug use can bring about all sorts of changes, from additional aches, pains, or skin eruptions, to frank personality changes and mental aberrations.
Drugs are not safe for all people all the time. So what? Chances are that you or someone close to you is using one or more drugs – every day. Any personality or mental changes, however slight, may be the direct effect of drugs.
Ask your doctor and pharmacist for information about every drug you use – and have them tell you about the possible interactions between your drugs and other substances you may consume. It takes an effort, but you will be spared hearing, “Frank didn’t really shoot his truck. The drugs pulled the trigger”.