Common Traits of an Addictive Personality
Common Traits of an Addictive Personality
Traits of an addictive personality are often thought of when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction.
In popular culture, many people see this as the epitome of the traits of an addictive personality.
Despite this, living with an addictive personality is more than just an addiction.
If you have traits of an addictive personality, then you may be concerned about developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
This means that you may avoid trying them all together.
This is a good reason to avoid using drugs or alcohol, to begin with.
Despite this, traits of an addictive personality do not necessarily go hand in hand with addiction.
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Understanding the Traits of an Addictive Personality
The signs of an addictive personality can be different than what you may think.
What is important to note is that there is not one single personality that is prone to addiction.
There is actually a lot of evidence that there are no specific signs of an addictive personality.
Rather, there are many other reasons why you may be led to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
There are some traits of an addictive personality that can be seen in individuals who develop substance use disorders.
It is important to note that they are not all present in every person who becomes addicted.
This means that although most often idea of an addict is an outcast criminal, this is not usually the case of the person who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Anyone can become addicted.
Addiction does not discriminate.
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Traits of an Addictive Personality or Traits of Becoming Addicted?
Rather than calling them traits of an addictive personality, there are traits that can be recognized in people who have a higher risk of becoming addicted. Whether this is to food, or to psychoactive substances, it is similar, yet different. Some people who have these traits of an addictive personality may not be able to monitor their drug-seeking behavior. This eventually leads to addiction. Some of these high addiction risk behaviors include the following.
Family Relation to Addiction
If you have family members who have developed addiction then you are at a higher risk to develop an addiction yourself. There have been many studies that show that if you have one close family member who is struggling with an addiction, then you have a higher chance that you may develop an addiction as well.
There are actually genetics that have been identified in direct connection to specific addictions. This means that it may be eventually possible to accurately identify how likely you are to develop an addiction.
If you suffer from other mental health disorders you are definitely at a higher risk for addiction. This is known as a dual diagnosis when associated along with a substance use disorder. Over 50% of people with a substance use disorder also have a mental illness. Some of these conditions include:
- Depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders
- Anxiety or panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Antisocial personality disorder
There are many studies that show the link between schizophrenia and addiction. This is mainly due to the fact that substances originally take away the symptoms of schizophrenia. This eventually becomes an addiction, causing far more problems in the long run.
Adventurous and Risk Takers
Some personality traits of an addictive personality may include those who are adventurous or like taking risks. You may not have a lot of impulse control around experimenting and playing with new experiences. This can lead to not only dangerous activities but also drug-seeking. It is believed that this may have to do with the levels of dopamine in your brain, and dopamine sensitivity as well.
If you have extraordinarily high levels of dopamine in your brain, this can lead to a lower sensitivity to its effects. This means that you may need to have more intense experiences in order to feel the pleasure. This can then be directly correlated with using drugs and alcohol, which then affect the dopamine system.
This means that adventure-seeking and risk-taking personalities have a higher likelihood of experimenting with or becoming addicted to, drugs.
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Disconnected and Cautious People
Essentially the opposite of the risk-taker type, the disconnected and cautious person is also at risk for addiction. This includes people who have difficulty with social relationships, those who may suffer from depression and anxiety. It is good to note that the risk-taker is often a man, while the disconnected and cautious is often a woman.
It is important to note that addiction occurs in attempting to soothe feelings of depression and anxiety. Symptoms of loneliness, disconnection, and depression can be really painful. This pushes people to use drugs and alcohol to soothe these feelings. Eventually, this leads to physical dependence, followed by tolerance and addiction.
Obsessive and Compulsive Behavior
Addiction can often be related to a lack of impulse control, but this also associates with those who are too intense with their impulses. What is in reference here is those with an obsessive-compulsive behavior pattern. Addiction is common with those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, known as OCD. This anxiety disorder looks to replace other compulsive habits, with addiction. It also includes the ability to do the same activity over time, rather than a single impulse to try something new.
What is interesting is that many people who are unable to control their impulses often also have an obsessive behavioral pattern. This leads to using psychoactive drugs to soothe the symptoms the disorder. It not only exists on its own but also with a lack of impulse control, which is one of the most obvious signs of addiction.
Mental Illness and Traits of an Addictive Personality
When looking at all the traits of addiction, essentially what brings them together is the common inability to regulate behaviors. This also comes along with the inability to regulate positive thoughts, and feelings that might otherwise help you to use substances moderately.
Studies often show that an inability to regulate behavior regarding receiving a reward is strongly linked to the development of addiction. What is unfortunate is that this is not the end of the issue.
Constantly Seeking Reward
If you constantly pursue the idea of a reward, you will more likely never experience the pleasure you are seeking. This is because those who do not have this issue will be satisfied, while the addicted won’t, hence the continuation of use.
Having a diminished sense of pleasure leads the want to win more, and find more of a reward response. This trait of seeking a reward is often linked with your levels of dopamine, and your sensitivity to it. This also relates to dopamine and potentially to other neurochemicals as well.
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Seeking Treatment for Traits of an Addictive Personality
If you find yourself struggling with any of the traits of an addictive personality, it does not mean you will become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Having said that, if you know that you are struggling with an addiction, it is important to get help.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health we offer free insurance verification for treatment to help you get to treatment faster.
Contact us today to learn more.