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Addiction and Addictive personality


There are many theories regarding the causes of addiction. One theory put forth by many researchers and social scientists is that there is such a thing as an addictive personality. This is someone who is prone to addictive tendencies, which may manifest in any number of ways. Such a person is at greater than normal risk for becoming addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling or other addictive substances or activities. As of now, this is not recognized as an actual disorder by the American Psychological Association.

Common Characteristics of Addicts

There are certain common traits often found in addicts, which is supporting evidence that such people share a certain personality type. These characteristics include:

  • Need For Instant Gratification -Drugs, alcohol, gambling and other addictive substances/activities provide a quick rush to the addict. Someone who lacks the patience to wait for positive feelings or the discipline to work towards long term goals is more likely to be tempted by these shortcuts.
  • Difficulty With Relationships -Addictive personalities tend to seek out fulfillment and satisfaction with substances and extreme behavior rather than in establishing and maintaining close relationships. For this reason, they often find it difficult to relate to other people and tend to feel isolated. This can make it even more tempting to continue with addictive behavior.
  • Drawn to Rebellion and Nonconformity -People who tend to violate social norms and value nonconformity are more likely to experiment with drugs and engage in other behaviors that can lead to addiction.

Causes of Addictive Personality

What are some of the causes of this type of disorder? Essentially, it comes down to biology, social environment or a combination of the two. There is evidence to support the notion that both play a role. There is evidence that some people’s brains may be wired or predisposed towards addictive tendencies. It’s well known that addiction often runs in families. On the other hand, it can be difficult to separate the biological factors such as brain chemistry and the undeniable influence of social environment.

One fact that’s undeniable is that taking alcohol or drugs over a long period of time changes one’s brain chemistry. This is one of the main reasons why addictive behavior can be so hard to change. Substances, as well as compulsive activities, cause actual changes to the brain.

The Importance of Identifying Addictive Personalities

Addicts often exhibit certain traits or tendencies that are less common in non-addicts. This doesn’t mean that someone with these traits is definitely going to become an addict. It does suggest, however, that he or she is at greater than average risk for this. People who recognize these tendencies in themselves must be cautious in order to avoid falling into addictive behavior. Mental health professionals can also recognize these tendencies in patients to make it easier to treat them.

Are you or someone you love suffering from addiction? Call our addiction advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: 1-800-259-1361