Addiction And Addictive Personality
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What Causes An Addictive Personality
The term addictive personality is actually a misnomer. Research has shown that there isnt one generic personality type thats more prone to addiction. Addiction is a complex health concern that can affect anyone, no matter their background or personality.
So why do some people develop an addiction to activities or substances while others can try them briefly then move on? Addiction is not a personality trait its a disorder that affects the brain. The reward circuits in your brain can become rewired to constantly crave the things youre addicted to.
Increased Need For Privacy
Addictive behaviors are often carried out in secret. People with addictions might need to steal or lie in order to obtain their drugs, for example, or they might like to hide their drug-taking behavior from authority figures. As a result, its common for people with addictions to develop a pervasive need to be alone, and they may spend hours locked in their rooms, offices or even the family bathroom as they work to keep their addictions alive.
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Addictive Behaviors With Chemicals
The lifetime occurrence of substance use problems among adults in the general population is approximately 25 percent. They may be addicted to alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications. In comparison, 50 percent of adults with ADHD have a history of dealing with substance use at some point in their lives.
Many reasons account for addictions among adults with ADHD, however two general causes come up again and again. First, adults with ADHD are more likely to self-medicate, particularly so when they lack awareness or understanding of their ADHD biology and have not yet learned how to manage it well. Second, many adults with ADHD are drawn to thrill-seeking and novel experiences. One individual said he liked to play with his brain.
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Do: Take Care Of Yourself
Indulging in self-care is not selfish, especially when youre helping someone dealing with addiction. You cannot let the addiction of your loved one derail your own life. Continue with healthy activities, like hobbies and social outings, and take care to look after yourself. Therapy or counseling is part of that process, but indulging in activities that arent centered around your loved one is necessary. Determine what it is that you need to keep yourself well and indulge in it.
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Want To Overcome Addictive Personality
Wilma from Canada
I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused as a child. Physically and emotionally mainly by my stepfather but my mother was neglectful and verbally abusive as well. They had serious issues to deal with but it does not excuse their behavior. I still have anger issues relating to my mother’s passivity and emotional cruelty to me and my siblings. I have mainly resolved the issues with my stepfather I have absolutely no contact with him.
I was molested at age 7 by a neighbor and by other adult males throughout my teenage years, including several incidents of incest with two uncles during an overseas trip. I am now happily married, in a stable relationship for 5 years now we do not yet have children. There is no abuse but we do fight and say mean things to each other. I have no contact with my family at the moment. My mother did not like my telling her that I resent her lack of interest in my education as a child . My brothers do not contact me.
I have been to therapy and made good progress. I stopped going because I did not feel that close to my therapist and did not feel she was necessarily the best person to help me. She was a little on the cool side. In addition, I feel better able to manage my life at this time, with the exception of my current problem.
In general, I feel pretty healthy emotionally. I get the blues sometimes but I think that that is normal. I will always continue to work on improving myself in a positive way.
How To Overcome The Symptoms Of An Addictive Personality Disorder
Whether you are trying to prevent the development of an addiction problem or avoid addiction relapse, its best to seek professional help in overcoming the traits of an addictive personality. Jump to a Section There are countless reasons why its important to overcome the effects and symptoms of an addictive personality disorder.
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Dont: Shame Or Criticize
Human nature sometimes forces us to shift the blame because its easier to understand a problem if we know its source. But the cause of addictions isnt so black and white, so theres never really just one thing to blame. Most importantly, the person with the addiction is not at fault for the disease.
Avoid implying or outright stating that your loved one is to blame for their addiction. Shaming or criticizing a family member who is struggling with an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction is often counterproductive to their Recovery. While tough love may have a small part in helping an alcoholic spouse, this is not the place for it.
Part of practicing compassion for your loved one involves understanding that shaming your loved one may do them more harm than good. Instead, talk with positivity and encouragement, offering the idea of a future of successful long-term Recovery. Provide verbal and physical encouragement rather than lectures or nagging.
Causes Of Addictive Personality
Multiple factors may influence the potential for addiction. These include genetics, environments, social pressure, and mental health problems.
We know that no matter what influenced a person to begin abusing substances, drug addiction results from changes in the brain made by those substances.
Alcohol and other drugs alter the brains ability to send and receive chemicals involved in pleasure, motivation, and behavior reinforcement.
An addicts brain relies on the drug, rather than natural brain chemicals, to produce feelings of pleasure and eventually feel normal.
The brain adapts quickly to the drug, so the user must take more and more to keep getting the same effect. Taking more of the drug at regular intervals can lead them to depend on it for day-to-day functioning.
Addiction occurs when people cant control their drug use, leaving them unable to fulfill other normal life obligations.
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Eating Disorders And Food Addiction
One of the least recognized types of addictive behaviors that a significant portion of individuals take part in is eating disorders. Eating disorders are varied but they all have one thing in common taking control of one or many aspects of live by controlling another in this instance, food. Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating. All of these behaviors provide the release or high that addicts are chasing however, they all come at a cost. The most significant impact that eating disorders have on the life of an individual with addictive personality disorder is the impact on health. Regardless of what type of eating disorder is being discussed, the negative impact is always one which hits hard in the area of physical health. Both under eating and overeating have significant impacts upon the individual engaging in these behaviors and in both situations these behaviors can lead to death. Depriving the body of the basic number of calories it needs to maintain proper function is just as damaging as stuffing the body full of calories in order to experience a numbness that comes with being full for overeaters. While many people still do not recognize eating disorders as a type of addictive behavior, they almost certainly are because they are pursued for a specific feeling which alleviates some of the stress that is naturally felt but unnaturally magnified for those with an addictive personality.
Personalities Drawn To Opioid Addiction
Over the last decade, its been clear that we are in the midst of a How Widespread is the Opioid Epidemic Interestingly enough, Further research suggests that opiate abusers, in particular, may share several common personality traits.
These studies lead some to believe in the existence of an opiate addict personality or something in a persons nature that leads them to abuse opiates.
Research indicates that opiate abusers commonly show high impulsivity and low cooperation and self-determination.
However, it is still unknown whether the traits came before opiate abuse or developed due to addiction. The researchers did not assess the personalities of the participants before the development of their addictions.
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Help For Addictive Personality Traits At 7 Summit Pathways
If you have an addictive personality, you may feel like you have no control over your Substance Addiction. You are not helpless or hopeless. At 7 Summit Pathways, we will work with you to address the unmet needs that may have led to a life of addiction. Our personalized treatment approach will give you the tools and support you need to start your Recovery journey.
Contact us today to speak with a compassionate and experienced member of our team. We will be with you every step of the way as you move toward health and healing.
Using Alcohol To Socialize
Socializing is one of the top reasons heavy drinkers give to explain their overindulgence in alcohol. A beer or a glass of wine can seem like a quick and easy way to lower inhibitions and have a laugh with friends. But all too easily, alcohol can become the only way to get along with people, leaving you feeling bored or anxious in situations where everyone is sober.
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Healthy Habits For Someone In Recovery
There are many healthy habits you can create for yourself in recovery. Some of these may include:
- Good sleeping habits: A good nights sleep can help your body heal from the damage caused by addiction. Good sleeping habits can also help reduce the possibility of relapse.
- Self-care habits: Creating a life without drugs or alcohol involves re-establishing even the simplest self-care routines, such as taking a shower, going for a jog or a run, meditating, or putting on makeup. When creating healthy habits, do anything that can make you feel better and take your mind off the pressure of maintaining sobriety.
- Active habits: Being physically active has positive outcomes for your physical health and can also benefit your mental health by serving as a way for you to release stress and depression. Exercise can also help you focus on something more worthwhile than your cravings.
Can Addiction Change Someones Personality
Yes. Drug and alcohol abuse can change a persons behavior and personality in ways that almost make them seem like an entirely different person. They may do things that make you think, Thats not you! as you struggle to understand the motivation behind the behaviors.
Unfortunately, scientific research confirms the fact that addiction changes the brain, altering the way your loved ones brain functions and disrupting its normal balance. Various types of drugs affect the brain in different ways, but most drugs produce powerful waves of dopamine that are highly addictive and harmful.
Consistent drug abuse impacts the brains pleasure center and plays a role in memory and learning.1 When a person continues to abuse these substances, he or she essentially re-trains his or her brain to seek out drugs. This produces many of the behavioral changes we commonly see in addicts.
As drugs or alcohol become the central focus of your loved ones life, he or she will demonstrate a preference for these substances over relationships, school, work, and even life itself.
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Traits Of People With High Risk Of Developing Addiction
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.
Test For Biological Causes
Shelly Allen, NYC Psychotherapist, explains it like this:
The addiction is not the problem, it is the solution to the problem. For example, if a kid has lowered GABA or dopamine levels due to epigenetics or nutrient deficiency, a way to boost these levels is often temporarily achieved by a behavior that provides instant gratification like the internet, video gaming, and substances like food, alcohol or drugs. The cycle of addiction begins when a person does not have a better way of alleviating this imbalance. This also helps explain why some people develop various addictions and others dont.
First, I always recommend patients get proper blood work to assess for any deficiencies or high levels of the following: Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Iron, Magnesium Serum, Copper, Whole Blood Histamine, Homocysteine, Plasma, Zinc, Urine Pyrroles, Serum Ceruloplasmin, and Thyroid Panel. These tests can catch imbalances that may be causing behavioral issues.
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Kids And Addictive Behavior: The Setting
Children today have to deal with the ubiquitous availability of instant gratification. Unhealthy food is more accessible and cheaper than healthy food. This year in the United States, there are over 200,000 fast food restaurants operating and sales in the snack food market reached $124 Billion.
Our children have access to rapidly-changing, sophisticated animation. Every iPhone or iPad offers instantaneous access to 2 million iOS Apps. Our television, social media and video games are on demand. We live in an instant gratification society. This environment is incredibly difficult for children with addictive personalities.
How To Help A Person With High Addiction Risk
Various forms of behavioral therapies can help individuals struggling with these issues to learn to manage their behaviors and acquire self-regulation skills that can moderate the addictive response. In addition, for those who have already developed substance use problems, treatment programs can incorporate these therapies with other demonstrated treatments. This approach may help the person safely stop using drugs or alcohol and live a sober life as well as gain control over the various traits above.
Seeking out research-based, professional care can provide the individual with tools to understand and manage these various traits, making recovery possible.
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The Science Behind Saying No
Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the NIHs National Institute on Drug Abuse, states, When the frontal cortex isnt working properly, people cant make the decision to stop taking the drugeven if they realize the price of taking that drug may be extremely high, and they might lose custody of their children or end up in jail. Nonetheless, they take it.
Couple this with an addictive personality, and you can see why it can be challenging for people to kick bad habits. However, what if we could replace bad habits with good habits? Kick the harmful addictions out and replace them with positive addictions?
Getting Help To Overcome Addiction
Fighting through the hard times of addiction includes getting high-quality substance abuse treatment. Today, evidence proves that addiction is a physiological disease that affects the brains wiring and chemistry. This means that psychological and psychiatric care are just as important.
If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction, contact Ashley Addiction Treatment at to get the help you need today.
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The Addictive Personality Part One
How do you envision someone with an addictive personality? Do you picture an alcoholic, someone strung out on drugs, a chain smoker, or a gambler down on his luck?
Addictive behaviors are commonly thought of as behaviors that impair a persons ability to function. Often they do but not all addictive behaviors have that effect. Some addictive behaviors do not negatively influence or impact the persons life.
Many people are unaware that they even have the tendency because their behavior doesnt fit the image they have in their mind of those who do. Someone with an addictive personality can turn a positive activity, such as exercising, into an obsession. As one mental health expert put it, healthy people plan exercise around their life. Addicts plan their life around exercise.
Those with addictive personalities have urges other people dont have that can impede their ability to make good decisions. They have the tendency to do things that are fine in moderation, things that those without addictive personalities do with no problem, and become addicted to them. They are prone to becoming dependent on substances, activities, and other people-just about anything. And they are especially at high at risk of becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, pornography, exercise, work, and codependency.
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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