People often use the phrase “addictive personality” without really understanding what it means. Addiction can refer to the specific condition of chemical dependency, but it can also denote a destructive or compulsive behavior pattern. Ultimately, many people who attend inpatient drug treatment exhibit both of these traits – and they often require simultaneous treatment to stay clean. To have the best chances at long-term sobriety, it’s important for addicts to understand how their personalities affect their recoveries.
The word “addiction” has become somewhat watered down in mainstream society. People who have never struggled with drugs, alcohol, or any other substance may simply refer to any repeated behavior as an addiction. However, true addiction to a chemical or behavior involves some sort of physical or psychological dependency. The following are some of the most common traits exhibited by addicts:
- Refusal to admit to wrongdoing or self-destructive behavior
- Hiding habits from others
- Obsessions with a substance or behavior
- Depression and other short-term withdrawal symptoms
- Insatiable physical cravings
- Lack of control over actions
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Continuation of behavior despite obvious consequences
There is no set personality “type” that’s more prone to addiction than others, but there are a variety of traits that can put people at greater risk. Among these traits are:
- Antisocial tendencies: People who are isolated and lack meaningful human connections are often prone to depression and anxiety. They are especially likely to use drugs to cope with their loneliness and lack of fulfillment.
- Desire for instant gratification: The inability to delay gratification can lead people to seek rapid stimulation from their environments. This can result in addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as internet surfing, sugar, and other forms of instant reward.
- All-or-nothing behavior: People who have trouble practicing moderation may waiver between total abstinence and severe abuse. This tendency can apply to drugs, food, sex, and a variety of other potential addictions.
- Insecurity and low self-esteem: Those with low self-esteem tend to obsess over their interpersonal relationships. When these relationships fail – or even when temporary conflict occurs – they will often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the subsequent anxiety.
- Earlier trauma: Post traumatic stress disorder affects combat veterans, abused children, and many others who have experience disturbing events. PTSD usually leads to feelings of depression and isolation, which lead people to self-medicate with addictive substances.
Preventing Drug Abuse
There are a variety of healthy ways for people to avoid drugs, alcohol, and other vices – whether or not they’re already addicted. For those most part, those who are spiritual and socially well-connected tend to respond more healthily to stress and hardship. The same is true of people who have learned to practice moderation, delay gratification, and manage daily stress. People with addictive personalities would do well to practice these types of behaviors and remain mindful of their more destructive tendencies.
If you’re struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t wait until it’s too late to get help. Call the number above for a free consultation now, and let our counselors talk to you about the benefits of inpatient drug treatment. No matter how desperate your situation has become, rehab can still help you make a lasting recovery.