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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My husband has personality changes in social situations. In

Customer Question

My husband has personality changes in social situations. In high school he would drink to "fix in" and then become a totally different acting person - sarcastic, non-caring, critical, self harming etc... The next day, he would have no memory of it. I taped an episode - I called them Mr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde - in college. After watching it, he swore to slow down drinking. After we were married, he started having episodes when he wasn't drinking. My sister noticed the change; then our other friends started noticing that he was "different" in social situations. Now I am noticing physical changes as well - he doesn't have fluid movement; he's jerky; his speech is not smooth and flowing; he gathers spittle at the corner of his mouth (I tell him to wipe his mouth - it's that noticeable); he is the "joker" in the group. I guess what worries me is the physical changes that I see now. He doesn't remember these episodes.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


From what you are saying it sounds like your husband's problem has gone from changes in personality when drinking to a physical problem. He may have had the physical symptoms before, but it was covered by the alcohol.


Some of the symptoms you have described can be explained by a number of disorders. He needs to be seen by a physician immediately. They can screen him to find out the cause of the symptoms and if needed, start him on treatment.


If a physical diagnosis is ruled out, I highly recommend your husband talk with a counselor about unresolved issues he may have that caused the original personality changes. Although alcohol is known to change someone's personality, any mental health issues should be explored first. He should also be screened for alcohol abuse. The therapist can either see him for that as well or make an appropriate referral.


I hope this has helped,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We have gone to a GP. He ordered a CAT scan and everything came back normal. The next step the doctor suggested was a sleep study only because my husband's father suffers from a sleep disorder and uses the sleep machine. It is true that if he doesn't get enough sleep, my husband will act "out of it" and he snores so I'm sure that he has a possible sleep disorder. I know that lack of oxygen may cause some forgetfulness and movement problems. To get out of these moods, I do suggest that he go to bed. After a good sleep - yes - he is his normal self but has no memory of the incidents.

Recently he has been getting over seven to eight hours of sleep. But the incidents still occur. Now other people are noticing, such as friends and people that he works with.

We have been together for eight years - from high school, through college, and now two years married. I've seen him drunk and acting out due to alcohol. We learned that he was an emotional drinker at college. Through a counselor at college - a substance abuse counselor - he learned this about himself. So now if he is upset he goes to the gym to work out instead of coming home. We also worked on communication skills with a counselor and he is much better at telling/discussing what is bothering him or making him happy. Since college, he only drinks socially - about once a month when we get with friends, and he definitely doesn't drink when upset. These incidents now are happening without alcohol being a factor - that's why they are recognized at work.

This is different - he really becomes someone that I don't recognize. I've researched personality disorders and they all seem too severe. We have kept notes, watched for a pattern of events and situations - but all of it doesn't seem to have a pattern.

Last night, after a day at work he joined at the bowling alley for an activity with the youth group that I work with. Within twenty minutes of being with us and the other adult moderators, he went into the "mode". At first the other adults seemed amused but then one asked me what was wrong with him. He just didn't seem to be himself.

As a teen, I baby sat for a closet alcoholic and know how the bottles can be hidden. We are in a two bedroom small apartment and believe me - nothing is hidden here. We drink at the monthly party with friends. If we go out with just the two of us, we don't drink. I don't really believe it is alcohol.

Could sleep disorders truly cause this? Or what other type of disorders are suggested by these not regular, but really personality changing, behaviors?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I consulted with another professional on your question. They agreed that it seems more physical than emotional. The only emotional disorder that can remotely answer the symptoms you describe is dissociative disorder. But this disorder is very rare. He would need to see a therapist for an evaluation to determine if he has this disorder.


Has your husband been screened for a seizure disorder? From what I understand, a CAT scan does not show seizure disorder. Although he has seen his regular doctor, maybe an appointment with a neurologist might be indicated here. The symptoms he is having point more towards screening for a physical disorder than a mental health one.


My best to you,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No he just had the CAT Scan and that was following a car accident on the ice last year. I am going to suggest going to a neurologist. Thank you! The personality disorders I researched seemed too severe and really not what I am seeing from him - although he is acting different. I really thought the counselor's would have suspected something during the college years if a personality disorder was there. Thank you for your time and input!


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