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.
Traits Of An Addictive Personality
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a prolonged disease of the brain, which involves changes to the reward centers, leading to alterations in behaviors, drive, retention, and cognition. Medical researchers believe that a combination of genetics, environment, and family history all contribute to an individuals risk of substance abuse throughout life. These factors may show up in an individuals personality in specific ways, indicating a heightened risk for addiction to a drug or alcohol. These personality traits are collectively called the addictive personality, a psychological term that has been argued by medical professionals however, these traits do show up in about 10-15 percent of the population.
The five leading traits of addictive personalities include:
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.
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Setting Yourself Up For Success
Even if some people have addictive personalities, it does not mean that they are doomed to watch their relationships fail. People can identify and insulate themselves from harmful, toxic personal relationships, choosing instead to focus on positive relationships in their lives that offer healthy support.
If those suffering from addiction are already in enabling or abusive relationships, learning and understanding how their partners abuse feeds into their own addictive behavior can help spur real change. While the road to recovery doesnt need to be lonely, people with addictive personalities need to be very conscientious about the relationships they form.
Addiction is fraught with paranoia and fear of the unknown, and it can be hard to identify the supportive relationships that provide a positive support system. Knowing how to identify and nurture these relationships not only aids recovery but can also help improve peoples lives in general by avoiding the toxic relationships and situations that spur on addictive, irrational, and impulsive behavior.
At the end of the day, dealing with addiction will be a difficult journey no matter who you are. However, the people you choose to surround yourself with and how you interact with them have a much greater impact on recovery than many people recognize.
Do Addictive Personality Traits Predict Addiction
An addictive personality refers to a combination of addictive traits that, in theory, predispose a person to addiction. However, the concept of the addictive personality is debated. So what are addictive personality traits and do they really offer insight into future addictions? Learn more about the most frequently reported addictive personality traits and how they relate to actual substance use disorders.
An estimated10-15% of the population is thought to have an addictive personality. However, despite the widespread discussion of addictive personality traits as predictors of substance abuse, there is no such thing as an addictive personality disorder. This means that an addictive personality is not medically recognized as a diagnosable mental illness. However, patterns worth noting do still arise in the personality traits of those who suffer from addiction.
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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.
There Are Many Factors At Play
According to the American Psychological Association, the desire to use drugs stems from biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors.
An individual can be influenced by social factors like family or friends use of a substance, and environmental factors, for example, accessibility of a substance and low cost. Moreover, people suffering from a mental health disorder are also more prone to abuse drugs. With so many factors, even if there were addictive personality traits shown by MBTI, the predictive value would still be low.
All of the reasons outlined above are why psychologists almost entirely consider the Myers-Briggs test to be ineffective in suggesting addictive behavior.
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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.
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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Do I Have An Addictive Personality
It is estimated that 10-15% of the population has an addictive personality. This percentage of the population doesnt know when to stop and has a more difficult time coping with drugs and alcohol. If you think you or a loved one may have an addictive personality, consider the following addictive personality traits. It may help you determine if its time to seek help.
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.
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Three Main Regions Affected By Addiction
Well-supported scientific evidence shows that disruptions to three main areas in the brain are responsible for the development of substance use disorders.6
The basal ganglia
The prefrontal cortex
The basal ganglia are a group of structures that can be found deep within the brain. They play a crucial role in keeping body movement coordinated and smooth. In substance abuse, these structures control the rewarding and pleasurable effects of substance abuse. Theyre also responsible for why an individual forms a habit of abusing drugs.
The extended amygdala is located beneath the basal ganglia. Its responsible for regulating the brains reactions to stress. In the case of addiction, its involved in the feelings of anxiety, unease, and irritability that appear during substance withdrawal.
The prefrontal cortex is located at the front of the brain, over the eyes. Its responsible for complex cognitive functions, such as prioritizing tasks, managing time, making decisions, and regulating emotions. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for exerting control over abusing substances.
Addictive Personalities And Alcohol
People who have addictive personality traits that also drink alcohol dont automatically develop an addiction. However, they need to be more aware of the consequences of their actions.
Experts believe that addictive personality traits can make the difference between the development of addiction versus regular use. Others believe that its their drug use habits that make the difference.
For example, some people can go out and have a few drinks on the weekend without any problems. Others, however, have trouble stopping, and it starts affecting their workweek. Also, social drinkers only drink when theyre out with friends. Theres a problem when they cant stop there and have to drink when theyre alone at home.
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Let 1st Step Help You Overcome Addiction
If you have an addictive personality, it doesnt take much for you to fall victim to addiction. With that said, you can learn how to handle addiction and these traits with the right guidance. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we provide this kind of guidance.
Some of the different drug addiction treatment programs that we offer include:
- Inpatient treatment: This type of residential inpatient treatment will require patients to live at our treatment facility. Inpatient treatment is best suited for those struggling with a severe addiction. Patients reside in a safe and medically-supervised environment. Inpatient programs typically take 28 to 90 days to complete.
- Intensive outpatient treatment:
An intensive outpatient program consists of weekly scheduled sessions for substance abuse disorders and addiction. Its a great middle-ground for those who have serious responsibilities, yet still, need treatment.
- Partial hospitalization :
This is where patients live in residence at a facility for up to 90 days, depending on their situation. PHP rehab is a type of outpatient care where patients stay at the facility daily to receive treatment but then go home at night.
Struggling with both an addiction and a mental health disorder at the same time is known as a dual diagnosis. In other words, you have at least two conditions occurring at the same time and interacting with one another. These are also sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorders.
Contact 12 Keys Rehab
If you or someone you know is exhibiting addictive personality traits, dont despair. You are not alone. With understanding, you can overcome any present addictions. Beyond this, you can also prevent new ones from forming.
With the help of compassionate professionals, you can learn to channel the traits that go along with an addictive personality into positive results. An addictive personality does not mean you are doomed to addiction. With awareness and support, you can live a healthy and fulfilling life that is separate from addiction.
Understanding the signs of an addictive personality can help you better understand how you may deal with potential addictions. It can help you identify why you or someone you know may be more susceptible to addictions than others. Understanding is the first step to living an addiction-free life.
If you are struggling with addiction, contact 12 Keys Rehab to get treatment and help today. The professionals at 12 Keys will help you learn how to live a healthy and productive life, regardless of your addictive personality. They can help you cope with the stresses of life and channel your personality traits into positive behaviors.
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Benefits Of An Addictive Personality
An addictive personality isnt necessarily a bad trait. An awareness of the possibilities of negative consequences and troubling behaviors can actually be very positive. In fact, the personality traits of an addict can be challenged into positive activities and results. Some of the personality traits that make you more prone to having an addictive personality can also make you shine in the workplace and in your personal life.
Addiction can result from the repetition of pleasure-causing activities, such as drugs or alcohol. The ability to identify productive pleasure-causing activities could lead to positive results.Identifying these activities is a key way to channel an addictive personality into a positive direction. Again, this does not mean you should substitute one vice for another. A work or exercise addiction can negatively impact your health and personal life as well.
But you can channel compulsivity, impulsiveness and sensation seeking into positive results. Doing so can help you work harder, get in shape, make friendships and more.
An addictive personality can help you achieve your goals as long as youre able to monitor your life for potential negative impacts. In fact, some experts say that the personality traits of an addict also make for great leaders and business people.
Mixing Addictive Personalty Traits Of Males And Females
Its also possible for an individual, male or female, to exhibit both types of traits they can be anxious about trying new things, but at the same time, crave new experiences. This persons behavior may alternate between impulsive and rash to fearful and stuck in a rigid pattern.
All three pathways include the same elementary issue, and that is having difficulty with self-regulation. Many studies today strongly suggest that self-regulation plays a critical role when it comes to addiction.
One of the earliest longitudinal studies that explored drug use began in the 1970s and followed 101 children, raised in Berkeley. The psychologists who were conducting the research, Jonathan Shedler, and Jack Block, found that the brain regions that allow self-regulation require practice to develop. If those brain regions are wired unusually or if they are atypical, they may not learn to work correctly.2
The children who participated in the study, and grew to become heavy drug users were the ones that were inattentive, struggled to concentrate, stubborn, and emotionally volatile.
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.
Why Do Some People Develop Addictions
There is no single factor that can predict whether one person will develop addiction and not another. Instead, a combination of factors raises a persons risk. These factors are many and varied and include:
- Epigenetics: Epigenetics is the study of how environment affects genes. Scientists estimate that epigenetics may determine 4060% of a persons addiction risk.
- Social environment: Living with caregivers who use drugs or have favorable attitudes towards substance misuse is associated with similar attitudes and behavior among teens. Similarly, pressure from peers can influence adolescents to try addictive substances.
- Early use: Early use of addictive substances can influence brain development, making it more likely a person will become addicted to substances during their lifetime.
- Prescription drug use: Some people develop addictions to substances after taking them for medical reasons. For example, doctors can prescribe opioids for pain relief. These are highly addictive substances, and even after a short time, the body can become dependent on them. Around 1.6 million people in the United States have opioid use disorder.
- Stress or trauma:Psychological trauma is a mental wound that can occur as a result of any severely stressful event. This could include childhood neglect or abuse, bullying, assault, crime, or humiliation. Any stressful or traumatic event might cause someone to use addiction to try to cope with the memories or feelings associated with it.
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