Wednesday, September 28, 2022

How Do You Know If You Have An Addictive Personality

The Genetics Of An Addictive Personality

Do I Have An addictive Personality? If So, How Does This Affect My Recovery?

Much research is being done on the medical diagnosis of addictive personality as personalities are multifaceted and complicated. Research has discovered a link between genetics and someones ability to have an addictive personality. Those born to parents who have been addicted to a substance or exhibited a behavioral addiction are more likely to exhibit addictive personalities themselves.

Additionally, individuals born to parents who have suffered anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or bipolar disorder can be predisposed to having an addictive personality. Genetics are not the sole indicator of addictive personalities however, they can be a great influence on someones personality traits.

The Myth Of The Generic Addictive Personality

The fiction is the concept of a specific addictive personality. In fact, most researchers in addiction today would caution against the idea of a single, generic personality that is prone to addiction. An article in Scientific American verifies and offers evidence for the fact that there is no one personality type that leads to addiction. In fact, some seemingly disparate traits can lead different people to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, depending on other factors.

While there are several different types of traits that can be recognized in individuals who develop substance use disorders, they are not all present in every person who becomes addicted. Therefore, the image that some people see of the socially outcast criminal is an inaccurate vision of the individual who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.

What Is Addictive Personality Disorder

For many people the very mention of addiction brings to mind the heroin addict who has lost their home, family and all of their personal possessions as a result of their drug habit. The truth of the matter is however, that someone with addictive personality disorder does not have to have a substance abuse problem to be classified as having this disorder. In fact, the presence of a substance abuse problem is not even a classification factor when it comes to identifying someone with this type of disorder. Someone who has an addictive personality disorder is someone who has difficulty managing the stress in their lives and rather than coping with stressors in a normal way, they turn to behaviors that are often destructive in nature to help to release the stress that they are feeling. In addition to being hypersensitive to stress, these individuals are often also prone to impulsive behavior and show a significant lack of self esteem. For these individuals, engaging in addictive behaviors is a way to help to try to alleviate the negative emotions being felt as a result of all of these factors.

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Impulse Control And The Addictive Personality

Other factors include ones personal interests. Another indicator of an addictive personality includes the need for stimulation. Someone who is restless and is in need of constant excitement may develop characteristics of an addictive personality. In the case of impulsivity, or rapid unplanned behavior without due regard for ramifications, decision-making abilities can be impacted. Poor impulse control can also invite the need for variety, influencing someone to seek out new habits. These habits may soon become compulsions or addictions.

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How To Deal With An Addictive Personality

Do You Have An Addictive Personality

If you believe you have an addictive personality, it helps to develop protective factors that lessen your risk of developing an addiction.

Protective factors include:

  • Stable economic environment
  • Positive community relationships

Not everyone has complete control of all of these factors. However, the more you work on improving these things, the lower your risk of developing an addiction.

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What Are Addictive Behaviors

Being able to identify addictive behaviors is an important part of being able to help a loved one who appears to have an addictive personality disorder. As mentioned above, many people often believe that addictive behaviors are limited to extreme drug abuse however, this is simply not true. Addictive behaviors are wide-ranging and incorporate a significant number of actions which are not always easily identified by family members as being problem behaviors.

Addictive Personalities: How Is Your Brain Affected

From nicotine to opiates, a powerful rush of dopamine is sent to your brain during use. The likelihood that the substance being abused during a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to a few factors. For one, the speed with which it promotes dopamine release is a major aspect. You may feel a dopamine rush 15 minutes after taking a shot, or you may feel it immediately with hitting a cigarette.

The intensity of that release is another major factor. Using the example from earlier, nicotine may give you a light buzz. However, heroin is much more intense with a completely state-altering effect.

Lastly, lets talk about the reliability of that release. Maybe the substance produces the same effect each time, or maybe its a little bit less reliable. For instance, a drug like MDMA will not always produce the same effects, especially after extended use.

Even taking the same drug through different methods of administration can influence how likely it is to lead to addiction. Smoking a drug or injecting it intravenously, as opposed to swallowing it as a pill, for example, generally produces a faster, stronger dopamine signal.

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Signs You Have An Addictive Personality

According to a report recently released by the surgeon general, 1 out of every 7 people is expected to struggle with health-threatening addiction in their lives. If youre somebody who has a personality in which addiction thrives, those odds are even greater.

An addictive personality is a term that gets thrown around a lot in both casual and formal settings. But what exactly does an additive personality mean?

Answers to that question are as far ranging as the number of addictions one can fall victim to. For the purpose of this article, however, were going to define an addictive personality with a series of traits.

These traits, when found in a person isolated or in conjunction with one another, put people at a much higher risk of partaking in risky behaviors habitually. These behaviors can adversely affect their health, life, and relationships.

Addiction Is Serious And You Can Get Help

Addictive Personality Traits

If you suspect that you have an addiction, its important to follow your intuition and get help. You cannot tackle it alone, and its okay to reach out for support. If other people are telling you that theyre worried about your addictive behavior, thats another sign that you need help. Dont wait to reach out to a mental health professional until its too late and youve lost loved ones. You can learn more about addictive personalities on Mind Diagnostics. You dont have to struggle with addiction alone. You can seek the help of a mental health professional online or in your local area. Addiction is treatable if you take proactive steps to help yourself.

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Why Is It A Myth

Theres no evidence to suggest that people with the traits mentioned above have a higher risk for addiction.

Thats not to say that certain personality traits arent related to addiction. For example, traits associated with borderline and antisocial personality disorders may be linked to higher rates of addiction.

However, the nature of this link is murky. Addiction can cause changes in the brain. As one 2017 research article points out, its not always clear whether the trait developed before or after addiction.

Being Overly Cautious And Lonely

While this personality trait is a 180-degree turnaround from the previously mentioned trait, this doesnt take away from its role in addiction. In fact, some studies suggest that individuals who abstained from any and all substance experimentation during their youth and early adulthood face a higher risk of addiction later on. One argument is that there is less of an opportunity to learn how to regulate. However, there are a few different reasons that these individuals may have exercised such a level of caution.

First, some young people who flat out refuse to partake in any type of addictive substances do so out of the fear and anxiety of making any type of mistake. This high-stakes, Type A personality can lead to anxiety and compulsive behaviors later in life that can trigger substance abuse.

In the second instance, some youth/young adults arent given the opportunity to partake in these substances simply because of social alienation and arent included in the social situations where drugs and alcohol are offered. Loneliness is also a huge trigger to substance abuse.

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Signs You Have An Addictive Personality Disorder

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Is addiction the result of personal weakness, or could a personality disorder be the culprit? We take a look at addictions to drugs, gambling, shopping, sex, alcohol, food, work, and exercise and look at how you can identify, treat, and help yourself or your loved ones that may be suffering from an addictive personality disorder.

Feelings Of Negative Self Worth

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

Not holding yourself in high esteem is a powerful breeding ground for addiction. When people feel like their lives are not worth regulating or in severe cases, worth saving, theres no guardrail keeping them from doing high-risk behaviors.

Because of that, if you frequently feel poorly about yourself, you may have an addictive personality.

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Do I Have An Addictive Personality

There are many factors that can contribute to having an addictive personality. One of the main aspects of addictive personalities that is widely agreed upon throughout the medical community is that it can be genetic. A study that compared 861 pairs of identical twins and 653 pairs of fraternal twins showed that identical twins were more likely to obtain an addiction up to 60 percent more than fraternal twins. Another study also revealed that children who have an immediate family member who struggles with an addiction are eight times more likely to develop an addiction themselves.

Another factor to consider is the state of ones mental health. If an individual deals with anxiety, depression or any kind of stress disorder, people may develop addictions to things that can increase their moods during the activity. For example, someone may experience a rush of excitement and happiness when they engage in sexual intercourse or a bit of gambling. Or those who are more nervous may become addicted to depressants that can calm their nerves and mind momentarily such as alcohol or marijuana.

The environment a person is accustomed to can also contribute to an addictive personality forming. Theres no way to exhibit any kind of addictive behavior if an individual isnt exposed to the addictive substance or actions to begin with. Therefore, the people a person surrounds themselves with can influence addictive behaviors to various substances or actions.

Using Sex To Replace Intimacy

It might seem contradictory to suggest that sex could replace intimacy. But people who are addicted to sex tell a different story: Constantly seeking sexual arousal and gratification can actually distance you from your partners, as you lose yourself in the sensations of the sexual experience, rather than being aware of the feelings of the other person.

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Healthy Ways To Manage An Addictive Personality

Theres more than genetics and environmental factors for addiction. Researchers believe not managing these behaviors can lead to addiction. Today, we know that addiction is a progressive and complex brain disease that has no single cause.

There are ways to manage these impulses for someone who has difficulty with them. Whether its compulsive comfort eating, obsession with social media, or gambling, these tactics can help:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation, yoga, relaxation, exercise, and other therapeutic activities.
  • Connect with others that have shared interests or enjoyable activities.
  • Avoid using sex, shopping, or other substitutes to bolster your self-esteem.
  • Experiment with different activities and reward mechanisms whenever you feel bored.
  • Seek excitement through healthy activities like traveling, hobbies, or setting goals for yourself.
  • Beware of the warning signs of drug abuse or alcohol addiction and seek help when needed.

Traits Of People With High Risk Of Developing Addiction

Is There Such a Thing As An Addictive Personality?

Nevertheless, there are traits that can be recognized in people who have a higher risk of becoming addicted to psychoactive substances rather than just being able to moderate behavior around these types of substances. People with this higher addiction risk include those who are:

  • Related to others who have developed addiction
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Adventurous and risk-taking

A more thorough discussion of each of these traits is explored below.

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What Is An Addictive Personality

Theres an image that is often brought to mind when it comes to people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. In popular culture, this image has become the subconscious image of the addictive personality that is, the individual who is considered all but destined to develop a substance addiction.

Its not a surprise then that people who are worried about developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol often try to find out what the traits of an addictive personality might be. They want to know what to watch for, either to absolve themselves of the addict label or to give themselves a reason never to start using drugs or alcohol to begin with. However, the simple fact is that this whole idea is based on a mix of truth and fiction.

Why Is The Idea Of An Addictive Personality Harmful

At first glance, the concept of an addictive personality might seem like a good tool for preventing addiction.

If we can identify those who have the highest risk, wouldnt that make it easier to help them before they develop an addiction?

But boiling the complex issue of addiction down to a personality type can be harmful for several reasons:

  • It can lead people to falsely believe they arent at risk because they dont have the right personality for addiction.
  • It may make people who have an addiction think that theyre unable to recover if addiction is hardwired into who they are.
  • It suggests that people experiencing addiction exhibit traits that are generally considered negative, such as lying and manipulating others.

In reality, anyone can experience addiction including goal-oriented people who have a large network of friends, plenty of confidence, and a reputation of honesty.

Experts have identified a number of factors likely to increase someones risk for addiction.

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Treatment And Therapy At 1st Step Behavioral Health

If you are suffering from an addiction as a result of an addictive personality or you want to avoid relapse, just contact us here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Let us help you overcome addictive personality traits once and for all! Call us today:

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a masters degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

Is Addictive Personality A Myth

Addictive Personality: Do You Have One? [Quiz]

While “addictive personality” is a common phrase in public discourse, it’s not actually a medical or scientific term. The scientific community has not yet identified an exact personality type that corresponds with heightened addiction risksalthough scientific research has shown that there are a variety of personality traits and genetic combinations that can lead to a higher risk for developing addictions. Those factors are different for individual people.

“There are definitely individuals who are prone to become addicted in various ways,” Boyd says, noting that addiction is often a combination of both genetics and the environment. “Some of this is based on personal history, but much of it is determined by having a family history of addiction.”

In her book Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, health journalist Maia Szalavitz reports that no single personality profile has been linked to addiction, despite decades of research on the subject. If you think you’re addicted to something because of who you are or because of your personality, you’ve been led astray.

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How To Spot Addictive Personality Disorder

For those who have never been exposed to addictive personality disorder before it may seem that identifying the disorder is as simple as observing these addictive behaviors. While spotting addictive behaviors in some may be relatively easy, in most it is considerably difficult due to the fact that these behaviors are often hidden out of shame. There are some signs that can be spotted in those with addictive personality that can help to alert family and friends to the presence of the disorder. Some signs of addictive personality disorder include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • A tendency to impulsive behavior
  • An antisocial personality

Do You Think You Have An Addictive Personality

To find out, take a quick quiz.

Read through the following questions. They are not meant to provide a true diagnosis but to get you started on determining if you may have a highly addictive personality and need help. We encourage you to answer honestly to yourself and then to seek out care from our team at FHE Health if you feel you are at risk.

Time’s up

Its important to know that an addictive personality doesnt mean you have a chemical dependency. However, if youve taken this quiz, you may already be worried about your behaviors. It may be time for you to talk to a professional about your concerns.

Make sure you take our quiz first! We dont want your honesty to be spoiled by seeing the results.

We asked a group of over 500 participants the same questions as shown above. The data below was also used to create the Results/Score graphics seen at the end of the quiz. The data below is based on the initial survey, not from completions of the survey on this page. Results from people like yourself filling out the quiz on this page are not displayed anywhere. What follows are the results from our 500 participant survey:

  • 11.58% fell into the 0-5 point group
  • 11.58% fell into the 6-10 point group
  • 24.58% fell into the 11-15 point group
  • 24.11% fell into the 16-20 point group
  • 28.37% fell into the 21-25 point group
  • 34.59% consider themselves risk takers
  • Of those who had experienced legal trouble 90% of them also agreed greater pleasure is correlated to greater risk.
  • Methods:

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