Signs You Might Have An Addictive Personality
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
The term addictive personality seems to be everyday talk these days, almost cliché, and widely misunderstood or used in the wrong way. Having an addictive personality conjures up images for many people of drug addicts and alcoholics, Hollywood actors and actresses, and rock stars alike with their sometimes unfortunate antics of drugs and alcohol only adding to the misconception. In all reality, anyone could be affected. It depends on their personality type as to whether they have a greater chance of having an addition.
And it could be an addiction to anything, really. Not just drugs and alcohol. It can be shopping, food, video games, gambling, sex, and others.
While some people can walk in a clothing shop and buy the one pair of jeans theyve been eyeing for a month, or walk out without any purchase at all, others with a shopping addiction find it almost impossible without buying something every time. And while one person can stop at a beer or two at a barbeque and not have another drink for days or weeks, another could have their every thought focused on when theyll have the next drink.
Personalities, including addictive personalities, are very complex. While theres not one specific type thats more prone to addiction than others, there are several factors that can combine to make someone more likely to become addicted.
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If you are tense or anxious at the end of a long day, you might have found that some marijuana can help you relax. But it has a rebound effect when it wears off. Anxiety actually increases. It can also harm your motivation or trigger psychological problems.
Do: Look for safer methods of stress management and relaxation
What Is Drug Addiction
Alcohol and drug abuse are common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , drug addiction can be defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. In other words, addiction involves engaging in substance abuse despite the negative impact it has on a persons life, such as declining health. And due to this, the chemical processes in the brain are altered. Of course, addictions to other behaviors like gambling or social media also occur. However, the addictive personality traits mentioned are discussed in the scope of drug or alcohol addiction.
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Signs Of Addiction And An Addictive Personality:
Individuals with an addictive personality tend to obsess. Just like an alcoholic will obsess over when hell get the next drink or a gambling addict will obsess over the next card game.
Always Wants More
A person showing signs of addiction will find that enough is never enough. One more drink at happy hour. One more try to win at the scratch-off tickets. They will always have a desire for more.
Addiction and lying go hand-in-hand and have several layers. For example, first, the user lies to himself about having an addiction. After that, he has to lie to everyone else around him. The deeper he gets into his addiction, its more likely hes going to feel the need to rest. Before long, the lies become truths to the addict and he is trapped in a cycleof lies and denial. A person with an addictive personality can also show signs of lying as well, and this would transfer into the same behavior if they become addicted.
The thing that the person is addicted to probably takes the top priority in their life, ahead of everything else. As a result of this, they will manipulate others to fulfill the addictive drive. They might lie or make up stories to get money or even pretend to be in love to get someone to take them out to the bars. In the same way, a person with an addictive personality will play the manipulation card for their own benefit.
Continuing Despite Negative Results
Not Taking Responsibility
How To Help Someone Who Might Be Dealing With Addiction
Addiction can be hard to talk about. If youre concerned that someone close to you needs help, here are some pointers that can help:
- Get more information about substance misuse and addiction. This can give you a better idea of what theyre going through and the type of help that might be available. For example, will treatment need to start with detoxification under medical supervision?
- Show support. This can be as simple as telling them you care for them and youre worried and want them to get help. If youre able, consider offering to go with them to see a doctor or counselor.
- Stay involved in the treatment process. Ask how theyre doing, or offer to spend time with them if theyre having a tough day. Let them know youre available if they find themselves in a rough spot.
- Avoid judgement. Theres already a lot of stigma around addiction. It can make some people hesitant to reach out for help. Reassure them that their experience with addiction doesnt make you think any less of them.
when someone doesnt want help
Try not to take it personally if your loved one doesnt want help or isnt ready to start treatment. If they dont want it, theres not much you can do to change their mind. This can be hard to accept, especially if youre very close to them.
Consider reaching out to a therapist for support. You can also drop by a Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meeting in your area. These meetings offer a chance to connect with others who have a loved one experiencing addiction.
Also Check: How To Get An Addict To Seek Help
What Can You Do If Someone You Love Has An Addictive Personality
Living with someone who has an addictive personality can be difficult because it involves monitoring and hand holding at times that many family members are not prepared to offer. The first step in helping a family member with this type of disorder is to recognize the symptoms and enroll them in a program designed to tackle not only their addiction but also their addictive personality disorder. Finding a good therapist and program that can work with your loved one may be time-consuming, but tackling the root of the problem is the only way to set your loved one up for success.
The Myth Of The Addictive Personality
Addiction disorder is a complex condition that can affect anyone regardless of their individual personalities. While there is still much debate about why it is that some people develop addictions while others do not, the general consensus among experts is that addiction is a disorder stemming from the brain and not from character.
Though there are many risk factors associated with the development of addictive disorders, there is no evidence of a specific personality type more prone to developing an addiction than any other. Despite this, the myth of the addictive personality persists. Addiction is often attributed to a specific temperament one that is defective in its inability to resist temptation. To confuse matters, the addictive personality is sometimes referred to in a joking way to justify the pleasures we choose to indulge in, further blurring the line between addiction, desire, and individual will.
Traits of the So-Called Addictive Personality
While there is no standardized set of characteristics that defines the addictive personality, there is a body of certain traits and behaviors commonly recognized as those of someone with this type of personality.
These traits include:
Why Does the Myth of the Addictive Personality Exist?
Actual Risks for Addiction
Other risk factors for addiction disorders include:
Identifying the Signs of Addiction
Why the Myth of the Addictive Personality Is Harmful
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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.
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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The Disconnected Cautious Trait
According to the Scientific American article, the bold, risk-taker type who develops addiction is more likely to be male. On the other hand, cautious people who have difficulty with social relationships and who at the same time may suffer from depression, anxiety, or both can also develop addiction these personality types are more often women.
Considering the self-medication idea mentioned above, people with these personality traits may be more likely to try to manage symptoms of anxiety or painful feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and depression by using alcohol or drugs that dull those feelings. This may then lead to the person becoming dependent on the substance to feel good in general, which in turn can lead to tolerance and addiction.
How Do I Know If I Have An Addiction
Generally, addiction causes people to have a strong desire for a substance or behavior. They might find themselves constantly thinking about the substance or behavior, even when they dont want to.
Someone experiencing addiction might start out by relying on the substance or behavior to cope with challenges or stressful situations. But eventually, they may need to use the substance or do the behavior to get through each day.
Generally, people experiencing addiction have a hard time sticking to any personal goals of not using a substance or engaging in certain behavior. This can lead to feelings of guilt and distress, which only increase the urge to act on the addiction.
Other signs that can indicate addiction include:
- continued use of a substance despite negative health or social effects
- increased tolerance to the substance
- symptoms of withdrawal when not using the substance
- little or no interest in your usual daily activities and hobbies
- feeling out of control
- struggling at school or work
- avoiding family, friends, or social events
What To Look Out For
- Telling lies to be a big part of an Addictive Personality disorder
- Manipulating people be another trait, especially those closest to you
- Difficulty with controlling your impulses
- A tendency toward obsessive or compulsive actions
- Low self-esteem
- Susceptibility to risky, impulsive, or thrill-seeking behaviors
- Not taking responsibility for things you do
- A close relative or friend who struggles with addiction
- People with Mental health conditions
But I Really Do Have An Addictive Personality
It can certainly feel that way.
And often, if we try to give up an addiction, we end up replacing it with another. Alcoholics often start bingeing on sugary foods when trying to quit.
But again, these come down to a combination of other reasons and ways of coping that depend on many factors, not on your personality.
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Dual Diagnosis: Addictive Personality Disorder And Addiction
With modern day psychology, we have abandoned the misconception that addiction only stems from the substance itself. Instead, there are certain traits and attributes in people that make them predisposed to addiction. Having these traits may cause a psychologist to diagnose you with Addictive Personality Disorder.
Using Sex To Replace Intimacy
It might seem contradictory to suggest that sex could replace intimacy. After all, isn’t sex the most intimate act between two people? But people who are addicted to sex tell a different story: Constantly seeking sexual arousal and gratification can actually distance you from your partner, as you lose yourself in the sensations of the sexual experience, rather than being aware of the feelings of the other person.
Healthy ways to meet this need: Even if you haven`t really felt addicted to sex, listening to your partner express their feelings may help strengthen your relationship as much as, or even more than, having sex.
Does Abuse Cause Personality Disorders
To answer a question with a question: What type of abuse? If one is talking about substance use and whether it causes PD in people, the answer is a resounding no. Abuse of drugs and alcohol is not the cause of personality disorders, but it can be a factor in the development of PD, as well as its effects.
Abuse in the form of physical, sexual, mental, or emotional, especially in children, may or may not manifest later as a PD in a person. While there is no definitive answer, there is a link
between abuse and personality disorders later in life, where those with PD have reported abuse in their childhoods. The science is still inconclusive as to which came first, the PD or the abuse, and requires more study to understand thoroughly. If you suffer from PD and have also suffered from abuse at any point in your life, it is important to address this with your medical care professional immediately, as it does shape your care plan.
Assumptions And Misconceptions About Addictive Personality
These observations by Maryann Amodeo highlight the potentially negative impacts like stigmatization and generalizing those affected by various addictions while they undergo challenges unique to each one of them. As such, there are calls to find a more suitable term to replace addictive personality among the substance abuse treatment circles.
At face value, you would assume that addictive personality means that being born with a certain personality meant you were doomed to addiction from the first sip of alcohol, first bite, or first smoke. It is more complicated than just underlying factors that cause overindulging.
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What Is The Addictive Personality Test
Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl| Last Edited :December 06, 2020 | 4 Sources
Several tests, like the Addictive Personality Test, can give us a glimpse on how the human brain works. The brain is usually likened to a very complex computer. Rather than electrical units on the silicon chips that control electronic devices, our brain consists of billions and billions of cells, referred to as neurons, which are structured into networks and circuits.
Every neuron serves as a switch that controls the flow of information. The question is, do these neuron networks have an effect on an alcoholics personality?
The concept of an addictive personality or having an addictive personality disorder is controversial in the addiction recovery community. On the one hand, its a useful and straightforward explanation for determining why some people may become addicted to alcohol, drugs, compulsive activities, and even problematic emotions. On the other hand, this addictive personality is not currently recognized by the established medical community as a genuine disorder.
What does the current research suggest? What evidence do we have on both sides of the controversy? And what do we do with this information moving forward?
Addictive disorders, like substance dependence and abuse, are typical disorders that involve the excessive use of drugs and alcohol. Addiction then develops over time and eventually becomes a chronic illness.
Addiction And Psychological Disorders Related To Social Media
someone to post endless updates or chronically checks for updates and gets upset when there are none? Is it because they are suffering from depression, anxiety, narcissism, paranoia or other psychological disorders? Even though social media addiction is not a considered a valid and recognized disorder, it does exist. Can it be proven that the same underlying psychological issues that can cause one to become addicted to substances are the same for an addiction to social media?Addiction and Psychological
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What Drugs Treat Personality Disorders
It is often the first question people ask: Is there a drug to treat this? This is a normal reaction because medical science has brought us a host of pharmacological options to help with many diseases that were erstwhile a mystery to treat for doctors historically.
While medicine is absolutely a helpful option used by psychiatrists and other medically licensed professionals to treat PD, it is important to note that it is not the only method, nor is it a cure-all route.
Medicines/drugs should, ideally, only be used to control acute symptoms and manage more prevalent, long-term symptoms under strict doctor observation. Other therapies, such as psychotherapy and behavioral therapy, are far more important and beneficial to the treatment of a person suffering from PD. While it is possible to only receive therapy to handle PD and forgo medicines, it is not possible to only use medicine and not be under the care of a licensed professional in therapy for PD and achieve any beneficial results.