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 things that 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.

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 sleepy because of his statin prescription”?

Probably never, but in my experience it is far more likely that people’s behavior can be routinely altered by one or more of the drugs they are using.

The effects can be mild or severe, but there is little doubt 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-prescriptions 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 family. It was the drugs that pulled the trigger”.