12 Minutes

By THE BALANCE
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When it comes to those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is a common image that comes to mind. This image has become the subliminal image of the “addictive personality” in popular culture – that is, the person who is seen to be doomed to develop a substance addiction. It’s no surprise, then, that people who are concerned about developing a drug or alcohol addiction typically try to figure out what the characteristics of an addictive personality are. They want to know what to look out for to avoid being labeled an “addict” or to give themselves a cause to never start using drugs or alcohol in the first place.

Why do some people become addicted to specific substances while others do not? There is a popular belief that some people have a personality type that makes them more prone to addiction. Several elements can enhance your risk of addiction, but no one personality type is responsible for addiction. Experts believe that addiction is a brain disorder rather than a personality trait. We shall look at what an addictive personality is and what qualities it possesses in this article. What are the signs of an addictive personality, and how can you tell if you have one? This article also discusses how to cope with an addictive personality healthily.

An addictive personality is more inclined to become addicted to something. This can include someone getting obsessed with something and having an obsession or preoccupation with it. Hidden anxiety, despair, and poor impulse control are the underlying elements for getting carried away and overindulging in video games, food, sex, or narcotics. Some of these actions could be an attempt to repair unresolved or suppressed emotions. Addiction to a video game or food may appear harmless at first glance, especially when compared to substance use disorders. The issue is that the goal of addiction might shift.

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This means that someone can be addicted to video games for a while before moving on to other objects — or substances — to abuse. The existence of a genetic component to addiction has been established time and time again.

Several characteristics distinguish those who have an addictive personality. Addictive personalities can, but are not always, associated with mental disorders such as sadness and anxiety. There are a few more significant signs of an addictive personality, such as:

  • Obsessive behavior is common in those who have an addictive personality. A gambling addict will stress over the next card game, just as an alcoholic will obsess over when he will receive his next drink.
  • “Enough” can never be enough for someone who is showing signs of addiction. At happy hour, one more drink. Another scratch-off ticket attempt is in order. They’ll always be on the lookout for something new.
  • Addiction and lying are intertwined and have multiple layers. For example, the user may first deceive himself about his addiction. Then he has to lie to everyone else in his vicinity. The deeper he gets into his addiction, the more likely he may feel compelled to take a break. The addict is soon locked in a cycle of falsehoods and denial as the lies become truths to him. A person with an addictive personality can also show indicators of lying, and if they become addicted, this will transfer into the same conduct.
  • The person’s addiction is most likely their top priority in life, taking precedence over everything else. As a result, they will manipulate others to satisfy their compulsive desire. They may lie or fabricate stories to obtain money, or they may even pretend to be in love to obtain a ride to the bars. A person with an addicted personality, on the other hand, will use manipulation to their advantage.
  • Money is required to maintain a habit. If manipulation no longer works and money runs out, a person may resort to committing crimes, whether it’s gambling or drugs. Stealing money or valuable goods to pawn for cash might aid in the maintenance of an addiction. Their perception of reality may be distorted as a result of their addiction. A person with addictive personality features may also engage in criminal activities.
  • Criminal behavior, inability to maintain a personal relationship or unfaithfulness are all examples of negative effects. The urge to quit generating bad effects is overpowered by the addicted personality. Even when it harms personal and professional relationships, jobs, and self-esteem, this is the case. Their perception could be skewed again. As a result, despite the unfavorable outcomes, individuals continue to act in this manner.
  • Impulsive behavior is defined as doing without considering the consequences. Most people make mistakes from time to time, but impulsive people do it daily. And this could be a sign of someone who is addicted to anything. Addicts’ brains have been studied and found to be more prone to making snap decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
  • Someone with an addictive personality is prone to not take responsibility for their actions and outcomes. Similarly, if addiction develops, this is also true. The person will continue to point the blame at others, feeling that they are the cause of the problem. 
  • Lying, manipulation, and other addictive personality characteristics all contribute to disastrous relationships. Short-term cycling is also caused by the need for change and the need for something fresh in relationships.
  • A person with an addictive personality, like someone with an addiction, is constantly looking for the next “high” and reward. They’re always looking for the next high, and they often require more of it to maintain feeling good. The constant yearning for anything new and unusual is, however, an issue with sensation-seeking. This may lead to experimentation with various drugs and alcohol, as well as substance misuse.
  • The state of possessing neurotic-like characteristics or symptoms is known as neuroticism (mental disturbance). Another possible attribute of someone with an addictive personality is this. People with high neuroticism are more likely to react negatively to challenges or dangers, such as anger, despair, worry, and impatience. According to studies, those who have a high level of neuroticism are more likely to have a substance abuse problem (SUD).
  • For someone suffering from an addiction, keeping secrets is crucial. It’s also a typical attribute in those who have an addictive nature. If a person’s life and habits aren’t kept hidden, it’s practically hard for them to maintain their addictive state.
  • Another characteristic of someone with an addictive personality is the thrill of taking risks. The sheer act of doing something risky and impulsive causes a rush of dopamine to be released, making the person feel good.

Several elements have been recognized by experts as being likely to enhance someone’s risk of addiction.

  • Growing up with uninvolved or uncaring parents can put a child at risk for drug abuse and addiction. Abuse or other trauma as a youngster can also raise the likelihood of someone starting to use substances early in adulthood.
  • Genes may be responsible for 40 to 60% of a person’s risk of addiction. Because addictive personalities are varied and nuanced, there is a lot of study being done on medical diagnosis. 
  • Age can also be a factor. Teenagers, for example, are more likely than adults to misuse and become addicted to drugs.
  • If you grew up seeing individuals abuse drugs or alcohol, you’re more likely to use drugs or alcohol yourself. Early exposure to drugs is another environmental issue. You’re more likely to become addicted if you have easy access to narcotics at school or in your community.
  • Mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety (including obsessive-compulsive disorder), can make you more vulnerable to addiction.

Having bipolar disorder or other personality disorders marked by impulsivity might also make you impulsive. A dual diagnosis is defined as having a mental health illness as well as a substance use disorder. In 2014, roughly 3.3 percent of adults in the United States had a dual diagnosis, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. There is no single characteristic or personality attribute that has been linked to addiction. You don’t choose to drink alcohol, experiment with drugs, or gamble; you don’t choose to get addicted to them.

Any addiction, whether it’s excessive comfort eating or a social media obsession, can be exploited to disguise a deeper, underlying need. Rather than feeding your addictions, you can adopt the following steps to feel healthier and more at ease:

  • Don’t eat for the sake of comfort. When you’re dissatisfied or stressed, comfort eating is a common approach to relax. While it’s fine in moderation, it has the potential to lead to obesity, food addiction, and binge eating.
  • Meditation, a relaxing bath, and a good night’s sleep can all help you relax.
  • Self-medicating with drugs isn’t a good idea. Pain, trauma, and difficulties sleeping are all common psychological conditions for which people try to self-medicate. There is medication for these issues, but it only provides short-term relief. You can get addicted to the drug, or you might look for another medication to take its place. Get help for mental health issues. Although you may never overcome the problem, life will be better by letting go of the idea that the cure is in a pill.
  • Don’t let your “hyper-connectedness” get in the way of your success. Constantly checking your email or Facebook account and never leaving your phone unattended may appear normal, but they might lead to internet addiction problems. Limit your screen time when you’re not at work. Also, make sure you’re not available when others are asleep.
  • Don’t go a little too crazy when it comes to shopping. The high they receive when they buy things that will make them a better person in their minds is one of the key reasons shopaholics give for accumulating debt. Rather than buying items to bolster your ego, work on your self-esteem.
  • Socializing with alcohol is not a good idea. This is one of the most common justifications for binge drinking. However, alcohol can easily become the sole way to get along with others. Practice refusal methods when everyone else is drinking.
  • Make friends with people who share your hobbies and activities. Try to find enthusiasm in healthy ways, such as starting a new activity, traveling, or making a personal goal.
  • If you have an addictive personality, you could assume that quitting all addictive behaviors is impossible. Perhaps you proceeded from sex to binge eating, binge eating to drugs, and so on. You may believe that a life without excess is too mundane and ordinary. This is a form of denial. Do: Seek treatment for your addiction. Even people who have been addicted for a long time can obtain help. Once you discover that it is possible, you may be able to mourn the years you have lost once you have recovered.

Addiction is a complex brain disease that can strike anyone, regardless of personality. While certain personality features have been linked to an increased risk of addiction, it is unclear if these traits have a direct impact on someone’s addiction risk. Try to remember that addiction isn’t a reflection of your character if you or someone you know is suffering from it. It’s a complicated medical problem that scientists are still trying to figure out.

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