All You Need to Know About Addictive Personalities
You might not know or use the term “addictive personality,” but you’ve probably heard its other names. Whenever you refer to yourself or someone as a “workaholic” or a “binge-watcher,” you might be talking about an addictive personality.
The problem is that we use the term “addict” so liberally that the distinction between “addiction” and a healthy enthusiasm for an activity is often blurred. A real addictive personality can lead a person to dangerous addictions, like alcohol and drugs.
So, how do you know if you really have an addictive personality? And more importantly, is there something you can do about it?
What is an Addictive Personality?
A person who has an addictive personality develops an extreme passion for or obsession with something to the point that they find it hard to stop. You can form this addiction to anything: it may be as innocuous as obsessing over fashion or over-consuming food. Or, it can be as severe as being dependent on drugs and alcohol.
Developing an addictive personality is often dangerous, even if it starts with something harmless like TV or video games. If you have a tendency towards addiction, the subject of your addiction can change quickly, but the addictive behavior will remain. When left unchecked, a video game addiction can quickly morph into other, more dangerous obsessions like drugs, gambling, or alcohol.
An addictive personality isn’t a personality type, per se, but is more of a brain disorder. People who are excessively dependent on something have the reward centers of their brain rewired to induce a strong need for that thing. Addictive personalities are often a symptom of a more serious underlying issue, such as anxiety or depression.
How to Tell if You Have an Addictive Personality
An addictive personality can be challenging to diagnose, especially if disguised as a “passion” or “hobby.” However, several indicators point to more than just plain enthusiasm.
Being dependent on something to cope with everyday tasks or bad moods is usually a tell-tale sign of addiction. Binge eating when you’re sad, needing alcohol to socialize or relax and excessive phone use to cure boredom are classic examples. Unnecessary risk-taking, especially in the form of gambling, can also develop into a dangerous addiction.
Another sign of an addictive personality is restlessness, and the need for constant stimulation. People who need overstimulation often get their “high” from activities or substances like sex, food, or shopping. This restlessness is a brewing pot for an addiction to develop.
Genetics also play a role in regards to addictive personalities. People who have parents with depression, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to develop addictions. Growing up with family members who were addicted to substances can also significantly influence a person’s addictive tendencies.
Addictive Personality Traits
As we mentioned, addiction isn’t a personality but a disorder. Different kinds of characters and attitudes can all develop an addiction.
Nevertheless, addicts usually share a few key traits, such as:
- Excessive risk-taking to the point of irrational behaviors
- Lack of impulse control
- Lack of direction in life, which often masks as a “laid back” or “happy go lucky” attitude
- The tendency to isolate in favor of their addiction
- Never feeling satisfied
- Irresponsibility for their actions
- Lack of self-confidence
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings or irritability
Debunking the Addictive Personality Myths
A real addictive personality isn’t always readily apparent because we often misuse the term. It’s more than just an obsession over an activity, but rather, involves many complicated and potentially damaging behaviors.
An addictive personality is also neurological and is not the result of a single personality trait. This is the biggest myth when it comes to an addictive personality. The fact is that anyone can develop an addiction. To believe that only a specific personality is predisposed to developing an addiction leads to stereotyping, worsening the problem and preventing proper diagnoses.
Recognizing when someone has a real addictive personality is the first step to recovery. What happens after that, though?
Fortunately, you can take many steps to ease your addictive tendencies, some of which you can start practicing immediately. Healing activities like yoga, meditation, and exercise are quick ways to train your mind to overcome addictive tendencies. Socializing and connecting with others are also effective methods.
One way to take your mind off your addiction is to replace it with a healthier alternative, such as exploring a new activity or traveling to a new country. However, use this strategy with caution; you don’t want to mask the issue temporarily.
But what happens if these steps are still not enough?
If all else fails and you or a loved one still can’t overcome an addictive personality, it’s time to seek professional help. Our treatment programs at West Coast Recovery Centers are personalized with the individual in mind because we believe every person has unique needs. If you would like to know more about our rehabilitation center in California, contact us today. Let us help you tackle your recovery effectively and compassionately.