The Most Common Characteristics Of Addiction
Traits of an addict arent related to personality traits, but behavioural changes that occur as a result of addictions effects on the brain. Some of the most common characteristics of addiction include:
1. The individual cannot stop taking the substance
Oftentimes, such as with alcohol or drug dependence, a person has seriously attempted to give up their addiction at least once, though unsuccessfully. Addiction characteristics can also include the presence of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to quit.
2. Health problems do not stop their addiction
Characteristics of a drug addict include when the person keeps taking the substance as usual, despite having developed illnesses connected to it. For example, an alcohol addict may keep drinking even after finding out they have a liver disease, or drug users may continue their use even after unhealthy weight loss.
3. Giving up recreational and/or social activities
Addiction can cause some people to give up or not become involved in activities. For example, an internet addict may choose not to go camping if they know they wont have internet access. Likewise, an alcoholic may avoid long trips where they know they will not have access to alcohol.
4. Keeping a steady supply
Individuals who are addicted to a substance will always have enough of it around, regardless of the amount of money they have to ensure that they have a good supply readily available.
5. Saving stashes
6. Risky behaviour
Common Personality Traits Of A Drug Addict
Someone who becomes addicted to drugs may show signs of this before addiction sets in. This is because certain drug addict personality traits exist for many people. Knowing what they are can help a person identify their own risk of becoming addicted or discover if they are already in trouble. Additionally, loved ones can learn to recognize the traits of someone who is or may become addicted to drugs. This kind of knowledge can lead to getting the valuable care needed to become sober.
Buying Things To Feel Better
Overshopping can be caused by a lot of things. But one of the main reasons compulsive shoppers give for running up retail debt is the boost they get when they think the new clothes, the new shoes, and the new gadgets will change who they are and make them better people. But as soon as they are yours, the objects feel worthless.
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Significant Traits Used To Determine An Addictive Personality
There are some common traits displayed by individuals that have an addictive personality that can make addiction more likely. While this doesnt necessarily always indicate substance abuse, drugs and alcohol usually play a considerable role.
The most common traits of those who may be if it from addictive personality treatment include:
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Addiction Recovery Options Personality Traits Linked To Substance Use
The risk factors for addiction are vast and complicated. Some people are genetically predisposed to substance abuse. They might have a history of addiction in their immediate family. Perhaps their mother is an alcoholic, or their father is a compulsive gambler. Other people develop substance use disorders after undergoing a traumatic event, or after experimenting with drugs and alcohol from a particularly young age. Some people pick up certain personality traits that make them more susceptible to the development of addiction. This article discusses which personality traits are commonly linked to addiction, and how to help prevent addiction from developing and how to effectively treat addictive disorders if they have already developed. However, it is important to understand that addiction is a complex medical condition, and it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint who is susceptible and who can safely use substances without developing a dependency.
If you or someone you love has been struggling with addiction, recovery is always possible. At Guardian Recovery Network we have developed an individualized and effective treatment program geared towards helping people of all ages overcome even the most severe and stubborn substance use disorders. To learn more about the development of addiction and the personality traits to keep an eye out for, contact us today.
Why Do People Develop Addiction
Often, the pull toward addiction develops as a result of unresolved childhood trauma. This can be a traumatic event such as abuse, loss of a loved one, or witnessing physical violence. Alcohol or other substances may become a way for someone to cope later in life, when they didnt have the resources to deal appropriately with the trauma.
Substance abuse may also come as a result of using drugs or alcohol to reduce anxiety, enhance focus, relax, or gain other seemingly positive benefits. However, these effects fade over time as the alcohol/drug use continues. These eventually produce negative effects such as reduced energy, depressed mood, increased anxiety, and reduced involvement with family and colleagues.
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Common Personality Traits Of People Who Struggle With Addiction
Most people can identify drunken behavior signs after alcohol has affected a drinkers central nervous system. Theres the slurring of words, reeling or staggering gait, bloodshot eyes, and generally impaired motor skills. But can we take our observations a step further and identify personality characteristics or traits that might lead a person to drink heavily or use drugs?
It appears that there are actual personality traits that are common to people who struggle with addiction that can be detected before taking their first drink or using their drug of choice. Though these six traits are also present in people who never drink or do drugs, they are highly representative of addiction.
Unable To Take Responsibility For Consequences
Many teenagers try to pass the buck that is, they try to not take responsibility for their own shortcomings and instead blame teachers or parents. While this is, in many cases, a developmental phase, a teen who cant manage to take any responsibility for their actions could be at an increased risk for developing an addiction. Encourage your teen to step up to the plate and take responsibility for his or her grades, chores that werent done, curfews that were broken, and other transgressions.
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The Addictive Personality Isn’t What You Think It Is
In her new book Maia Szalavitz recalls her behavior as a child in school and at home. Anxious, bright and slightly obsessive, she didn’t seem to fit the stereotype of the addictive personality. Nevertheless, in college she would become addicted to heroin and cocaine, forcing her to reexamine her assumptions about addiction and its treatment. The following is an excerpt from Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,
Although addiction was originally framed by both Alcoholics Anonymous and psychiatry as a form of antisocial personality or character disorder, research did not confirm this idea. Despite decades of attempts, no single addictive personality common to everyone with addictions has ever been found. If you have come to believe that you yourself or an addicted loved one, by nature of having addiction, has a defective or selfish personality, you have been misled. As George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told me, What were finding is that the addictive personality, if you will, is multifaceted, says Koob. It doesnt really exist as an entity of its own.
It seems that the same regions that gave me my intense curiosity, obsessive focus, and ability to learn and memorize quickly also made me vulnerable to discovering potential bad habits and then rapidly getting locked into them.
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.
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Awareness Is The Answer
If these traits sound familiar, you or someone you know may be more likely to develop habits that negatively impact daily life. Awareness is key, so if you feel yourself succumbing to temptation more regularly, dont be afraid to reach out for help.
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Related To Others With Addiction
There is no question that genetic makeup has at least some effect on a persons risk of developing addiction. As described by many studies, including one from the journal Psychiatry, having a close family member who is struggling with an addiction can make it more likely that an individual will develop an addiction as well.
In fact, certain portions of the human genome have even been identified as having a direct connection to specific addictions, according to a study in Nature. With this knowledge, it may be possible in the future to more accurately identify just how likely a person is to develop addiction. Still, genetic potential is no guarantee that an individual will develop addiction. Other complex, environmental factors also contribute to the potential that a genetic predisposition will become a true substance use disorder.
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Signs Of An Addictive Personality
Individuals with an addictive personality can be identified by several traits. Experiencing mental conditions like depression and anxiety can, but do not always, indicate addictive personalities. There are a number of better indicators of addictive personalities, including:
- Comfort eating/binge eating
- Never feeling satisfied/needing more of a particular feeling
- An inability to stop using harmful chemicals
- An inability to curtail other harmful activities
Being able to stop and control ones actions indicates healthy boundaries and a lower level of attachment. If you or someone you know hides their harmful behavior, that could signal a problem needing intervention.
How The Addictive Personality Develops
It has long been accepted that our genes play a role in the development of addiction. Those who purchase DNA tests through the Human Genome Project can even determine whether they are at risk. And a 2009 study indicates that our genes even determine risk factors for specific substances such as alcohol or cigarettes. Experts suggest genetic factors may influence our likelihood of developing substance use disorders by about 50%, give or take. Of course, while certainly significant, this percentage still indicates that other factors must play a role as well.
One significant factor is environment. Some may turn to addiction in order to numb the pain of adverse childhood experiences or other major traumas. Our social network also plays a significant factor. Those who associate with heavy drinkers or drug users obviously stand a higher chance of developing addictive traits. After all, even those with genetic predispositions cannot develop chemical dependency without first encountering exposure to the substance in question.
Addictive personality is not an actual psychiatric diagnosis. Personalities are very complex, and while theres not one specific type thats more prone to addiction than others, there are several factors that can combine to make you more likely to become addicted.
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Inability To Handle Stress
Learning how to handle what life throws at youincluding the negative stuffis a part of growing up and becoming an adult. But people who repeatedly avoid confronting stressful, challenging situations or negative feelings are missing out of developing crucial coping skills.
If a person is using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate negative feelings and stress, especially as a teen or young adult, they arent learning healthy ways to deal with stress and manage their emotions. Drugs and alcohol offer a temporary escape from unpleasant feelings, but it could lead to addiction.
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Unwilling To Take Responsibility
This trait involves a refusal to take responsibility for many things in the persons life. They may shift blame for their drug abuse to those around them. They may insist that they only use drugs because someone else hurt their feelings or did something that upset them. Additionally, they may blame things related to work, school, or relationships for their drug abuse without taking into account their own responsibility in each case.
Is There A Drug Addict Personality
There are many risk factors that can increase the chances that someone becomes addicted to a substance or unhealthy compulsions. Such factors can include external things, such as childhood trauma or abuse, poverty, or parents who used them. Other factors involve mental health issues, such as mood disorders or anxiety. But there are also some inherent traits a person might be born with that can also make them vulnerable to drugs.
Just because someone might have a few of these traits, however, does not mean they are doomed to addiction. Plenty of people are impulsive, risk-taker types who dont end up addicted to drugs. If you are a parent, being aware of the traits that addicts do have can help you be proactive. The same is true if you possess these personality traits, so you can be careful with the choices you make.
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Have I Been Struggling With An Addictive Disorder
How can you tell if you or someone you love has been struggling from a substance use disorder and is in need of professional addiction treatment? There is a list of diagnostic criteria outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition . In order for addiction to be professionally diagnosed, two or more of the following symptoms must be present.
Lack Of Impulse Control
While it may be easy to argue that having an addictive personality is obvious to the individual, it usually isnt. Most of the time they are motivated by subconscious urges, or more commonly, lack forethought. Examples of this may be to thoughtlessly take money or possessions from another, as a means to get what they want. The thoughtlessness of how this would affect the other was nonexistent, and therefore, nothing was holding them back. Another example would be getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
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The Obsessive Compulsive Trait
Addiction sometimes has to do with a lack of impulse control, but this is not exclusively the inability to resist impulses. In fact, people who are too rigid with managing their impulses may also end up using substances as a manifestation of an obsessive-compulsive behavior pattern. In fact, addiction often becomes a compulsion to use the substance based on a habit that has formed over time rather than a single impulse to try something new.
In this way, people with intense focus and habitual behaviors may be as likely to develop addiction as those who are unable to control impulses. The obsession with using psychoactive drugs is a main symptom of the disorder, and it can exist both separate from and in concert with a lack of impulse control that can also be a hallmark of addiction.
Mental Health Disorders And Addiction
Aside from personality traits, mental health plays a huge role in the risk of addiction. Known as co-occurring disorders, more than 50 per cent of all individuals suffering from drug addiction are believed to have an underlying mental illness. And over 33 per cent of all individuals diagnosed with a mental illness also have some form of substance addiction.
Mental health disorders are one of the number one risk factors for developing addiction. It is important to be well-educated about mental health disorders as millions of people around the world are suffering needlessly from anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder or personality disorders because they simply do not know the symptoms.
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Addictive Personality Meets Physical Dependence And Withdrawal
Together, the cycle of addiction is driven by having an addictive personality, reinforcing biological dependency, prompting the experience of withdrawal. A lot of times, what starts as just this once, quickly turns into a lifelong struggle with addictive personalities. So how do you know if you have an addictive personality? To start, make yourself aware of the signs. Then, determine if your behaviors compare to the findings.
Personality Traits Linked To Addiction
Although there is no one set addictive personality type, researchers who study the causes of addiction have found a number of traits that are closely linked to an increased risk of drug or alcohol abuse.
Impulsive people are often viewed as fun to be around due to their spontaneous nature, but this personality trait has a serious dark side. People who are impulsive often dont stop to think about the potential risk associated with a decision. They will go with whatever course of action seems like a good idea at the moment, which can often place them in risky situations involving drugs and alcohol.
The link between impulsivity and substance abuse can be seen in the high number of people with an ADHD diagnosis who also struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Impulsivity is one of the defining personality traits associated with ADHD. Researchers have found that about 25% of adults in treatment for alcohol and substance abuse have been diagnosed with ADHD. This makes addiction five to 10 times more common in people with ADHD.
People who are seeking addiction treatment often describe themselves as nonconformists. They consider themselves as fundamentally different from their peers due to their interests, values, and goals.
4. Low Tolerance for Stress
5. Sensation Seeking
6. Blame Shifting
What It Means
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