Addiction 101: Identifying an Addictive Personality

Addictive Personalities

Often, the people who develop addictions have what is described as an addictive personality. Having an addictive personality means that you possess certain personality traits that may make you more susceptible to forming strong habits and developing addictions. Identifying an addictive personality is difficult, but can be done.

Addiction Just Means Dependency On Drugs… Right?

Addictive Personality

We’ve heard it all our lives.

“That guy is a meth addict!”

“She’s been addicted to cigarettes for years.”

“My father’s an alcoholic”

And so on. We hear about addiction all the time. It’s discussed in the news, on TV, and it affects many of our lives directly. Everything we’ve heard about addiction seems to center around and blame drugs. But addictions run much deeper than that, and people can become addicted to more than just drugs.

Defining Addiction

When a person feels they are incapable of discontinuing behaviors or impulses that are negatively affecting their life, the compulsion and dependency they feel is called an addiction. Addictions can be very powerful, and can lead people to make destructive or dangerous choices.

Common Types of Addiction

When we hear about addiction, we most often hear about addiction to drugs. Drug addiction is very common and produces very noticeable effects and behaviors. Because of this there is a perception that addiction is always related to drugs. However, people can become addicted to anything.

Some common addictions other than drugs include:

  • Food
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Work
  • Pornography/sex
  • Video games
  • Stealing
  • Power

The list is just a small portion of the hundreds of types of addictions that exist. In fact, humans can become addicted to almost anything. But the real question is why do people develop addictions? Are some people more likely to have an addiction than others?

But Addiction is a Choice, Right?

The truth is that we don’t fully understand human physiology and psychology enough to fully answer that question. Addictions start with a choice, but it’s unlikely that the intent behind that choice was to develop an addiction. Instead, people make decisions that may trigger or lead to more decisions that eventually develop into addiction. While addiction starts with choice, it isn’t necessarily the addict’s goal. They may simply be wanting to try something new, or not know the dangers of what they’re doing. They may have certain personality traits that blind them from realizing that they’re engaging in addictive behaviors, or lack the foresight to see the consequences of their addictions. Because each addiction is unique, it must be analysed in it’s own way to fully understand the forces behind it.

How Do You Identify An Addictive Personality?

While there is no official diagnosis of having an addictive personality, certain traits have correlated with susceptibility to addictions. These traits can be genetically inherited, learned, developed socially, or stem from physiological implications.
Personality Traits

Common personality traits indicative of an addictive personality include:

  • Difficulty controlling impulses
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • ‘Sensation seekers’ or people who seek new sensations for the excitement
  • Valuing non-conformity
  • Recurring sensations of social alienation
  • Behaviors

Aside from personality traits, there are also certain behaviors that can be a red flag for addiction. Some of these behaviors include:

  • Compulsiveness
  • Difficulty finishing something one has started to do
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty setting goals
  • Attention seeking

While we don’t know everything about addictions, the knowledge we do have should be well kept and studied. If you can identify an addictive personality, you may be able to help them avoid making destructive decisions. The power of addiction can’t be overcome by a single person; it takes a community to support an addict. If you know somebody you think may be struggling with addiction, put your new knowledge to use and offer your help today!

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