Some people are more likely to develop addictions than others. Such people are said to have an ‘addictive personality’.
But just what is an addictive personality? And how do you know if you have an addictive personality?
What is an addictive personality?
The term ‘addictive personality’ can be quite misleading. It suggests that only certain people can become addicted to drugs, when in actual fact anyone can become ‘physically addicted’ to a substance – if you were to give heroin to anyone continuously, they would experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea and tremors if you took the drug away.
However, while anyone can develop physical addictions, not everyone is prone to mental addiction. It’s this type of addiction that leads people to spend days playing video games or hours per day exercising.
Another misconception is the idea that there is a single addictive personality. In actual fact, there are many different types of personal traits that can make someone more prone to addiction – having just one of these traits could mean that you have an addictive personality. This post delves more into these traits.
Traits of an addictive personality
Are you a risk taker?
If you like to take risks, you’re more likely to try drugs without being concerned about the side effects. You may also be more likely to take drugs repeatedly – if it didn’t harm you the first time, chances are it won’t harm you the second time, right? This reluctance to see what could go wrong leads to risky habits or ‘addictions’ forming.
Are you impulsive?
Someone who is impulsive is more likely to give into their short-term desires. This means that you find it hard to give up pleasurable things, even if you’re fully aware of the long-term dangers – the urge to chase that instant high is stronger than the urge to preserve your health and happiness in the future.
Do you rely on rituals for comfort?
People who are very much into rituals and routines can be more prone to addiction. Taking drugs or drinking alcohol could be something you do at a certain time every day or a certain time every week, and you may find it harder to break this ritual if you’re a creature of habit.
Do you suffer from depression or anxiety?
Addictions are often a form of self-medication against mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. If you’re depressed or you suffer from anxiety, you may be more likely to use something like drugs to numb your negative feelings as a way of coping more easily with life.
Do you have friends/family who are addicts?
You’re also more prone to addiction if other people around you are addicted. This is because such behavior becomes normalized – you may be used to your parents drinking heavily or your friends taking cocaine whenever you go on a night out and you may find yourself doing it to fit in.
How can you fight an addictive personality?
Having an addictive personality isn’t something that you have to just accept. You can put in work to beat unhealthy habits by acknowledging the traits that are causing you to become addicted.
For instance, if you’re a risk taker, it could be worth reminding yourself of times when risks did not pay off. Try to take a more conscious effort to weigh up the risks before taking drugs – research into what could go wrong rather than trying to live in denial. You may find that you’re less likely to gamble your health away when you’re more aware of the dangers.
Similarly, if you like to take comfort in rituals and some of these rituals are unhealthy, it could be worth trying to disrupt these unhealthy rituals. For instance, if you drink alcohol every evening to unwind, consider whether you can find a new routine to help you relax such as a hot bath and herbal tea, a book or a creative hobby.
If you’re already addicted to a substance, you may want to consider looking into professional treatment. Overcoming the physical withdrawal symptoms of certain drugs may require seeking out treatment like rehab or partial hospitalization – this is much safer than trying to go cold turkey on your own. Once you’ve overcome the physical withdrawal symptoms, you can start working on beating your addiction mentally. This could include tackling any mental illnesses that may be a trigger or learning tactics for reducing social pressure from other addicts – treatment plans like intensive outpatient treatment and outpatient programs can help with this.