People that struggle with addiction are not just hooked on a particular substance; their behavior is often part of underlying issues that are difficult to resolve. Although the concept of an addictive personality is part myth and part reality, there are certain traits that can create a higher risk of addiction. There is no single generic personality that is more prone to addiction but someone with addictive tendencies needs to be cautious about any type of substance use because it can cause problems for them.
Most studies agree that people with addictions do not necessarily have one particular personality type. Different traits exist in people that have addictions and they may be very distinct from one another in the things that drive them to abuse substances. People may have an idea of a what a stereotypical addictive personality is but it is not always based in reality.
In spite of the differences between addicts they do have a common drive to use substances in excess and find it difficult to moderate their behavior. These tendencies make it very important for someone with an addiction to practice abstinence because they may find it hard to minimize their substance use. They may also need to avoid any and all mind altering substances as any of them can potentially become addictive.
Traits that Can Create Risk for Addiction
All people with addictions may have different reasons for abusing substances but there are certain common traits that tend to increase the risk for abuse. People who are more adventurous, enjoy risk-taking activities and seek the feeling of novelty can often be at higher risk for addiction. They may be looking for thrills and as a result will find the euphoria of certain drugs too difficult to resist.
Another common trait associated with addiction is impulsivity or the inability to control compulsive behavior. Someone who can’t say no when they have a craving or is constantly seeking to satisfy their need for excitement is more likely to struggle with addiction. A person in recovery with impulsive tendencies will need to learn to curb this behavior in order to overcome their addiction.
People with addictions also tend to be more socially isolated and disconnected from others. They may frequently jump from one hobby or social group to the next instead of making deep and lasting connections. Their feelings of alienation and inability to connect can be both a symptom and cause of their addictive behavior.
One of the issues that people with addictions often experience is a problem with regulating their mood. They may have underlying issues with depression or other mental health problems that cause them to have mood swings. Their frequent changes in mood can cause them to abuse substances as a way of self-medicating and escaping their feelings.
Recovering from Addiction with Personality Traits
Because each of these traits has a strong association with addiction, they will need to be addressed in treatment in order for the individual to fully recover. It can be hard to completely rid oneself of certain aspects of their personality but they will need to find strategies that help them stay sober. Recovering from an addiction can sometimes mean focusing certain tendencies toward positive outlets rather than destructive substances.
People who have problems with impulsivity will need to curb their cravings more than others and will have to learn to slow down before they make decisions. Those who have problems connecting or tend to isolate themselves must spend more time in group therapy, with a sponsor or speaking in support meetings in order to change their habits. People with mood swings or mental health issues may need to incorporate treatments such as medication or stress reduction techniques.
Whatever a person’s particular issue is in regard to their addiction, they can develop strategies to handle it so that it doesn’t affect their ability to stay sober. People with addictive personalities or certain traits that contribute to their addiction can still live drug and alcohol free. They will simply need to find ways to alter their response to specific feelings and situations that normally would trigger them to abuse a substance.
In treatment most therapists can work with addictive personality traits and help each individual work through their issues. They can help them develop skills that will make it easier to stay sober and resist cravings or temptation. For people with addictive personalities, relapse prevention is a crucial part of their treatment.
It is possible to recover from an addiction no matter what type of personality traits an individual may have that causes them to abuse substances. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction you can always find help from local treatment centers that specialize in rehabilitation and addiction recovery.