Monday, April 8, 2024

What Causes An Addictive Personality

Eating Disorders And Food Addiction

Is There Such Thing as an Addictive Personality?

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.

Caution Is Not A Concern

Theres a prevalent feeling among young people that theyre invincible. This lack of self-awareness and caution can lead to addictive behaviors.

Consequences of addiction are one of the main deterrents of partaking in addictive behaviors. Without regard for those consequences, there is a much higher likelihood a person will get wrapped up in addictive patterns.

Is It A Myth

Many addiction specialists and health professionals believe that addictive personalities are a myth.

In part, this is because addiction is a complex issue that affects all kinds of people.

Its just as possible for someone with a so-called addictive personality to avoid addiction as it is for someone without the addictive personality traits to become addicted to a substance. It all depends on their experiences and choices.

Furthermore, addiction is a brain disorder that has nothing to do with personality. Someone with a laid-back, easygoing personality has as great a risk of developing an addiction as someone with a high-strung personality.

There is no evidence that a specific personality has a higher risk of addiction than another.

Despite no scientific evidence or support for the theory of an addictive personality, understanding the various things that increase a persons risk of addiction can make it easier to avoid a substance use disorder.

  • Antisocial personality disorder

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Purported Addictive Personality Traits

While definitions of the term vary, the term addictive personality is usually used to suggest that people with certain clusters of personality traits are more likely to develop addictions. The term also suggests that people with this personality type engage in repetitive pleasurable actions and choose them over other important activities.

People who engage in these behaviors supposedly have a higher risk of developing addictions to food, sex, gambling, shopping, alcohol, and other substances.

While there is no clear consensus about what these traits are, they often include traits such as:

  • Impulsivity
  • Social isolation or withdrawal
  • Thrill-seeking or sensation-seeking

Critics emphasize that the label itself is harmful and should be avoided. Not only is the label not supported by research, but it also promotes the idea that people who develop addictions are all the same, which plays a role in stigmatizing and marginalizing people who have addictions.

What Are Addictive Behaviors

Determining the causes of addictive behavior

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.

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The Addictive Personality Isn’t What You Think It Is

However, the simple fact is that this whole idea is based on a mix of truth and fiction. 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.

What Role Does Childhood Trauma Play In Addiction

Adverse childhood experiences such as trauma, especially combined with an unpredictable and chaotic childhood, pose a risk factor for many kinds of maladaptive behaviors and poor health outcomes. Studies show that having multiple ACEs puts children at risk of poor school performance, unemployment, and high-risk health behaviors including smoking and drug use.

Prolonged stress during childhood dysregulates the normal stress response and, through overproduction of cortisol, is especially harmful to the brains hippocampus, impairing memory and learning. Severe or sustained early life adversity shifts the course of brain development and can lastingly impair emotion regulation and cognitive development. What is more, it can sensitize the stress response system so that it overresponds to minimal levels of threat, making people feel easily overwhelmed by lifes normal difficulties. Research shows a strong link between ACEs and opioid drug abuse as well as alcoholism.

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Weak Commitment Towards Goals

Goals are things that allow us to gauge whether or not were moving our lives in a positive direction. Without goals, especially as an adult, its easy to fall into patterns of depression and feelings of being without purpose.

Those feelings are found regularly in people who are managing addictive personalities or full-blown addiction.

How To Get Help For Behavioral Addictions

Is There Such a Thing As An Addictive Personality?

Getting help for a behavioral addiction can be more challenging than finding help for a substance use problem. More research might need to be done to find a therapist or treatment option that specializes in behavioral addictions. Going to a trained and experienced provider is really important in getting the help you need, so dont settle for the first option. Call around and find a few options, and dont be scared to ask questions or for more information that helps you identify the right option for you.

Those who are interested in using their insurance will need to do some investigation to find an in-network treatment provider and then to call and inquire whether behavioral addiction treatment would be covered. The best starting place to find an in-network provider is often to go through your insurance company, calling the number on the back of your card or using their online search tools. You can also use an online directory and filter your search by insurance, speciality, and other preferences.

Those without insurance or who are unable to get their treatment covered may need to explore options for sliding-scale therapy. Even if a provider or treatment facility does not advertise a sliding scale or discounted rate for self-pay clients, you should ask anyway. There might be some options available to help reduce the financial burden.

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Why Do Some People Become Addicted While Others Do Not

There is some evidence that natural variation in genetic makeup of the dopamine system may influence who gets addicted. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter activated by rewarding activities as a way of increasing the likelihood of engaging in such activities in the future. Having a relationship, getting a promotion, doing something creativethose are normal ways of stimulating the reward system. Illicit drug use short-circuits that process and directly boosts dopamine levels.

Some people may be more prone to addiction because they feel less pleasure through natural routes, such as from work, friendships, and romance. Their genetic makeup inclines them to develop such personality traits as thrill-seeking. Their craving for risk and novelty takes the fear out of drug use and the huge dopamine boost powerfully reinforces the motivation to seek the reward over and over again.

Frequent Bouts With Stress And Anxiety

Stress and anxiety and an addictive personality often go hand and hand. This issue is two-fold.

For starters, attempting to stray away from addictive behaviors in the face of a personality thats drawing your towards them can cause a lot of internal struggle. This struggle can lead to fatigue and stress.

If youre not able to keep your personality in check and develop an addiction, the guilt stemming from doing things you know you shouldnt be doing can also cause stress and can lead to anxiety. This stress and anxiety often fuel the addiction cycle since many addicts turn to their vices to quiet their minds.

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Addiction To Phones And Devices

According to 2019 data from the Nielsen Company,8 Americans spend close to 10 hours each day in front of screens, with cell phones and mobile devices accounting for at least half of this time. The sheer amount of time spent on these devices is cause for concern, suggesting that if device addiction is possible, most Americans are at high risk.

Anecdotal reports suggest that some people also experience a loss of control over their use of devices, unable to abide by limits they set for themselves. Some even have reported experiencing psychological cravings and withdrawals related to their phones, tablets, or other connected devices.3

Research suggests that excessive device use is associated with many physical and mental health problems, which is relevant because experiencing consequences related to use is a key component of addiction. Children and teens seem to be especially vulnerable to these effects. Young people who spend 7 hours or more on devices are twice as likely to be depressed or anxious, and they struggle more with regulating emotions, making friends, and have trouble focusing and completing tasks.7

Sex And Pornography Addiction

5 Factors that Contribute to Drug Abuse

Sex addiction has been a source of controversy for several decades, with intense debate among experts who believe that sexual addiction is either possible or not. Those who believe in the existence of sex addiction tend to define it in similar ways as addiction to substances are defined: as a pattern of compulsive and problematic sexual behaviors.

Porn addiction is believed to be a subtype of sex addiction and is defined as the compulsive use of porn. Use of porn is continued despite causing problems to a person, their relationships, or other important areas of life. Aside from the obvious symptom of excessive porn use, other key features that may indicate porn addiction include an inability to perform with real-life partners and sexual dissatisfaction with real-life partners.2

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Dont Wait To Get Help

It is a myth that a person has to hit rock-bottom before you can get help for your addictions. You may have a personality that craves excess but it doesnt have to be unhealthy. A healthy enthusiasm adds to life, while an addiction takes away from it.

Behavioral Health Centers can help you find balance in your life. Our addiction specialists are experienced in treating dual diagnosis situations, the most common cause of addictions. We have inpatient and outpatient programs so you can begin your rehab at the right intensity and step down to lower levels as needed.

Of course, Behavioral Health Centers has an aftercare program, the final step. We are devoted to helping you have a successful outcome from your treatment, and continue to long-term recovery. Waiting wont help you in any way. Contact us now. We are available to answer your questions at any time and you can reach us here: .

Behavioral Health Centers

If A Family Member Was Addicted Will I Become Addicted

The vast majority of children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs do not grow up to do the same. However, they are at some increased risk for doing so, and there are a number of reasons why. For one, they are exposed to those substances, and exposure during early adolescence may especially influence substance use.

For another, they may inherit whatever genetic or biological vulnerabilities laid the groundwork for a parental addiction. But they may also be more prone to addiction because they suffer from cognitive, emotional, or behavioral problems known to arise in children as a consequence of growing up in a home marked by substance use for example, as children they are at increased risk of neglect, abuse, or a poor quality parent-child relationship.

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Is There A Brain Malfunction That Causes Addiction

The common but mistaken view of addiction as a brain disease suggests that there is some malfunction in the brain that leads to addiction. But that is not the case. Studies show that repeated use of a substance , encouraged by a surge in dopamine, creates changes in the wiring of the brainand those changes are reversible after drug use stops.

Neuroscience research supports the idea that addiction is a habit that becomes deeply entrenched and self-perpetuating, rewiring the circuitry of the brain as it is repeated. The repetition of a highly pleasurable experiencedrugs, gamblingalters neurons they adjust their wiring to become increasingly efficient at the experience. They prune away their capacity to respond to other inputs. It is a form of deeply engraved learning. As drug use stops, engaging in other rewarding activities rewires the brain to find interest and pleasure in non-drug pursuits.

Signs You Have An Addictive Personality Disorder

Addictive Personality

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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.

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A Professional Opinion Of Addiction

One theory is that people who suffer from negative emotionality are more likely to turn to drugs and/or alcohol for relief, escapism or comfort. Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Kentucky in the USA, Thomas Kelly has said that previous research has demonstrated a relationship between sensation seeking, impulsivity and the initiation of drug and alcohol use. Kelly also said that the emerging literature relates urgency, or emotion-based rash action, to heavy and problematic drug and alcohol use.

Continuing to comment on the 2012 study, he continued to say that negative emotionality is a distinct personality dimension from urgency. Previous literature also demonstrates that the development of heavy alcohol use is associated with sensitivity to d-amphetamine combined with negative emotionality. This suggests that it is important to examine risk factors and their interaction within the context of the stage of drug use.

Its estimated that two million people in the UK alone are currently fighting an addiction. If you or someone you know is suffering with an addiction to alcohol, please feel free to visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.

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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What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder

Scientists believe that the exact cause of BPD is unknown. However, there are several risk factors that make people prone to having this certain personality disorder. Genetics, neurotransmitters, neurobiology, environmental factors are just some of the reasons why people develop BPD.

  • Genetics: Some personality disorders run in families. People who have a family history of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders tend to pass it on to their children.
  • Neurotransmitters and neurobiology: Brain chemicals also affect people who are susceptible to BPD. For example, women who have hormonal changes during their menstruation and borderline personality tendencies may have intense outbursts due to brain chemical imbalances. Some brain development problems may have occurred due to seizures, trauma, or issues during fetal growth.
  • Environmental factors: People who have experienced abuse or unstable relationships growing up may also develop negative patterns of thinking that lead to BPD.

Combining nature and nurture factors equally influences people who develop this pervasive personality disorder. As addiction and mental health specialists assess people with addiction and personality disorders, it is important to note the clients risk factors. This is necessary to provide the best treatment possible.

Helping Others With High Risk Of Addiction


Mental health professionals, including therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, can help an individual struggling with the risk factors for addiction. Addressing these issues early on and identifying and implementing healthy coping mechanisms can decrease the individuals likelihood of developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Additionally, many treatment methods exist that can help those with an addiction to recover.

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