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Learn about your personality change, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your personality change from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Personality Change Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having personality change.

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Your Personality Change May Also be Known as:
Behavior change
Change in behavior
Change in personality
Irregular behavior
Strange behavior

Personality Change Symptoms

It is possible for a person to undergo a change in personality due to psychological events, such as suffering extreme shock or fear; but most cases of personality change are the direct result of physical damage to the brain from injury or some form of illness.

A change that is caused only by psychological reasons can usually be helped with appropriate medication and counseling. A change that is caused only by damage to the brain cannot be cured, but can be managed with medication, counseling, supportive care, and assistance with activities of daily living. Some changes in personality are a combination of both physical damage and the emotional reaction to it. Again, both psychological and medical help will be used to ease the symptoms and improve quality of life for the patient and for the caregivers.

Emotional personality change symptoms:

  • Apathy, which is disinterest in life.
  • Depression and withdrawal from social situations.
  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability, sometimes leading to aggression.
  • Rapid mood swings or emotional lability.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Memory and perception difficulties:

  • Confusion.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Loss of organizing ability.
  • Difficulty recognizing certain emotions, in self or in others.
  • Hallucinations, which may be visual (seeing things) or auditory (hearing things, such as voices.)

Behavioral problems:

  • Loss of inhibition or doing things that are not socially acceptable: approaching strangers, going into the wrong house, etc.
  • Altered sexuality, which means an increased or decreased sex drive with behavior that may be inappropriate.

Medications, including chemotherapy, may cause:

Are personality change symptoms serious?

  • A certain amount of forgetfulness is not unusual in an older person, especially after a long day or when very tired.
  • Struggling to cope with traumatic brain injury or other personality-changing illness can cause severe and ongoing depression. If not treated, this can lead to substance abuse or suicide attempts.
  • A personality change that arises quite suddenly can be a sign of stroke or other serious illness.

Personality Change Causes Overview

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) with physical damage to the brain

  • Bleeding into the brain from spontaneous rupture of a blood vessel.
  • Loss of oxygen in the brain due to drowning, heart attack, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other form of suffocation. Damage occurs after just minutes and will be evident once the person is conscious again.
  • Insufficient blood glucose, often in diabetics, which starves the brain of energy.
  • Viral and bacterial infections of the brain and spinal cord can cause serious damage to those tissues.
  • Behavior and personality sometimes change following a hard blow to the head, especially if the person was unconscious.

Progressive disease affecting the brain.

  • Neurologic diseases, most of which are genetic. These are known for producing profound changes in personality due to their powerful effect on the brain.
  • Gradual loss of brain function due to aging combined with unknown factors, sometimes leading to severe disability.

Psychiatric illnesses

  • can cause disturbing or inexplicable behavior.

Normal aging can cause irritability, anger and frustration due to:

  • Hearing loss.
  • Vision loss.
  • Loss of mobility.
  • Chronic pain.

Rare and unusual causes:

  • A brain tumor can cause loss of certain functions due to crowding and displacement of tissue, but personality change does not always happen.

Top 3 Personality Change Causes

  1. 1.Brain Tumor or Mass

    A brain lesion can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Nonetheless, they are a potentially serious issue and should be discussed with a physician.

    You should seek care today, since your symptoms indicate that something serious might be going on. In order to diagnose a brain lesion, imaging must be conducted. It is likely you will be sent to a brain specialist.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability
    Symptoms that always occur with brain tumor or mass:
    hidden: any focal neuro sign
    In-person visit

    Personality Change Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having personality change.

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  2. 2.Herpes Simplex Encephalitis

    Encephalitis is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the brain, most often due to infections. Encephalitis caused by the herpes simplex virus is the leading cause of more severe cases in all ages, including newborns.

    You should go to the ER immediately, where doctors can administer anti-infectious medications as soon as possible. If left untreated, this diagnosis is deadly.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, being severely ill, loss of appetite, new headache, fever
    Symptoms that always occur with herpes simplex encephalitis:
    being severely ill
    Hospital emergency room
  3. 3.Tertiary Phase of Syphilis Infection

    Syphilis is a common sexually trasmitted infection (STI). Late phase, or tertiary, syphilis is uncommon, as it occurs years to decades after initial exposure to the infection. It is the most progressed and serious stage of the disease. Late phase syphilis infection can lead to loss of function of multiple organ systems, especially the nervous system, the heart and blood vessels, and the liver.

    You should visit a doctor within the next 48 hours. Late phase syphilis is a difficult disease to manage, and requires intensive treatment of affected organs as well as antibiotics to treat the underlying infection.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, joint pain, irritability, numbness or tingling sensations in skin, dizziness
    Primary care doctor

Personality Change Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate personality change treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • The person has symptoms of bleeding into the brain (stroke) with severe headache, confusion, and loss of function on one side of the body.
  • The person has sudden symptoms of extreme confusion and disorientation, especially if suffering from visual or audial hallucinations.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Any ongoing behavior that seems unusual for this person, or is inappropriate, baffling, or dangerous.
  • Ask your medical provider about advice and support for caregivers, so that the caregivers do not become exhausted and overstressed while helping a partner or parent with personality change.
  • Ask your medical provider about a referral to a psychologist, particularly one who can help both the patient and the caregiver cope with the symptoms of personality change and with the difficulties of the illness that may be causing it.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Personality Change

  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Are you feeling irritable (easily made upset)?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our personality change symptom checker.

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Personality Change Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced personality change have also experienced:

    • 4% Abrupt Change in Behavior / Identity
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 3% Nausea
  • People who have experienced personality change were most often matched with:

    • 5% Brain Tumor or Mass
    • 2% Herpes Simplex Encephalitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Personality Change Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having personality change.

Take a quiz