Can you spot an addictive personality? If you’re like most people, probably not. While many people imagine all addicts as rail-thin heroin addicts leaning against the side of buildings in the poorer parts of town, the reality is that many people whom you may not suspect might have traits that could make them more susceptible to potential addictions. What are the signs of an addictive personality disorder? What can you do if you or someone you love exhibits such traits?
The Debate over Addictive Personality Disorder
First off, it is important to acknowledge that there is no clinical diagnosis known as “addictive personality disorder”. While there are several known personality disorders that can result in a clinical diagnosis, addictive personality is not one of them.
That leads some to believe that what is known in the common vernacular as addictive personality disorder does not really exist. However, for those who subscribe to the theory that there is such a thing as “addictive personality disorder,” the evidence seems to point to the fact that some people appear to be more prone to developing an addiction than others. This, then, is what most people mean when they refer to “addictive personality disorder.”
For the purpose of this article, the term “addictive personality” refers to the common traits that exist in people who suffer from addiction, whether that addiction takes the form of substance abuse or some other destructive behavior to which people can become addicted.
Common Traits that Indicate an Addictive Personality
There are certain common traits among addicts that lead researchers to consider the concept of addictive personality disorder. While these traits exist, they do not always result in an addiction. Rather, they signal a potential predisposition to addiction in some people. Those traits include:
- Low self-esteem
- A tendency toward impulsive behavior
- An antisocial personality
- Difficulty delaying gratification
- A disposition toward sensation seeking
- Social alienation
- An increased sense of stress or anxiety
Those who exhibit these traits are often more likely to engage in addictive behaviors. In many instances, if a person becomes addicted to one behavior or substance, he or she will also be more likely to become addicted to additional behaviors or substances. This causes some researchers to try to find a link between the personality traits listed above and addiction itself.
That link, so far, has not been proven to be causative, but research does suggest that these personality traits are found consistently among those who are suffering from addiction.
Addressing the Addictive Personality through Drug and Alcohol Rehab
If you become aware of symptoms of addictive traits in yourself or in a loved one, it is wise to seek professional help. Many addicts who enroll in drug and alcohol rehab find that, in addition to handling the effects of physical addiction, rehab is a great place to start handling the underlying causes of addiction as well.
Since many of the personality traits associated with addiction result from stress, drug and alcohol rehab programs commonly teach addicts how to better cope with stress on a day-to-day basis and how to confront and deal with emotional scars that may be the underlying cause of stress.
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If you or someone you love is in need of such help, contact us today to discuss what our drug and alcohol rehab programs can do for you.