Do Some People Have an Addictive Personality?
The simple answer to this is yes. Most people who become dependent on either alcohol, drugs or prescription medication. Or who develop other addictions such as gambling or eating disorders – have an addictive personality.
Addictive personality traits make themselves apparent in a multitude of ways and affect many and varying people. People can have addictive personalities that make them more vulnerable to self-destructive, compulsive behaviours. Making it easier for them to become addicted to all sorts of things, from drugs, alcohol, shoplifting, and gambling, to video games, pornography, and even things one wouldn’t assume, like chocolate.
Some professionals would claim that all of those with addictions have personality traits that make them more susceptible to addiction and substance abuse. As individuals we are all very different. For example, people can react terribly to alcohol and become aggressive and violent. Whilst others are able to drink rationally when they choose without developing any kind of dependency.
Therefore it is close to impossible to create a mould or definition for an addictive personality as there is such a huge range to cover. Nevertheless, it can be seen that different addicts with varying addictions do have similar traits. Despite the fact that it is a highly contested notion amongst medics and psychologists. Some believe that there are a definite set of traits that make it easier for certain people to become addicted. These addictive personality factors may include, for example, an antisocial personality. This is when people socially alienate themselves and place importance on nonconformity with the goals or beliefs of society: these people may be more likely to struggle with addiction.
Isolation, Lack of Intimacy
People may turn to substance abuse due to feelings of isolation and lack of intimacy in order to substitute their lack of personal relationships. Or to feel more comfortable in certain social situations. An alternative behavioural trait can be low distress tolerance. Meaning a person has poor stress management skills or inadequate coping skills which may make people more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, or other addictions to cope with their emotions. Furthermore, addictive personalities have trouble developing and attaining long-term goals as they are too concentrated on the short term.
They may display impulsive behaviour or a temperament toward drama thus drugs and/or alcohol act as a “quick fix” to solve their problems. Compulsive behaviour is another side of an addictive personality. Many people with addictive personalities will find it hard to enjoy drugs or alcohol in moderation. Instead, they will have an all-or-nothing approach to life. They are either totally in control, or completely powerless. People who feel the need to participate in destructive behaviour time and time again and feel powerless to stop, may have a propensity toward addiction.
Those with addictive personalities generally tend to substitute one habit or addiction with another. For example, those who quit smoking may turn to chewing gum. They also have tendencies to have many and varying vices. Insecurity is another and significant contributor to addictive personalities as compulsive behaviours often cover up insecurities in a person or fear of failure. What is more, depression can greatly contribute to an addiction as people use drugs or alcohol as a tool to deal with their pain. When coping with or facing problems seems too difficult. A person with an addictive personality is very likely to turn to substance abuse.
Be Aware of The Dangers
If you think that you or a loved one may have an addictive personality make sure that you are aware of the dangers and can recognise when certain habits can become dangerous and detrimental. If it is too late and you or a loved one has developed an addiction. Seek help immediately as it is never too soon or too late to overcome an addiction.
The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drugs rehabilitation clinic which provides detox and rehab for all addictions. Please call 01462 851414 for free and confidential help and advice.