- Mental Health
Do I Have an Addictive Personality?
What is an Addictive Personality?
Many people believe that substances and certain behaviors are solely responsible for people becoming addicted, needing the next fix, unable to make themselves better. This is a misconception when it comes to addiction and substance abuse. Even though certain actions, behaviors, and substances are addictive, the person themselves have some kind of hard wiring in their brain that makes them extremely susceptible to addiction. The person with an addictive personality can try anything once and immediately become addicted to it. They can smoke one cigarette and the next day smoke a pack per day. This person can try their first beer and immediately become an alcoholic. They can try their first joint and immediately want another and another. This person can become addicted to drugs, self harm, body modification, sex, gambling, even exercise, eating or develop another eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. The person whom has an addictive personality does not know how to deal with life's stress in a healthy and normal manner, instead they turn to substances and behaviors to dull the stress because that is the only way they know and understand how to make themselves feel better. A person that has an addictive personality may give up one addiction but instead of becoming healthy they develop an addiction to something else. The person with an addictive personality does not know nor do they understand how to live in moderation, instead they live to excess, needing more and more; they are rarely satisfied. The addictive personality craves normalcy, happiness, and self esteem, they just do not understand where to find it or how to achieve it in a healthy manner. An addiction is “nothing more than an out of control habit” and the addictive personality can become addicted to anything as long as it gives them a sense of instant gratification, euphoria, and a sense of belonging.
Not Everyone Becomes Addicted
It is true that not everyone becomes addicted to actions, behaviors, and substances. The average person tries something once or twice just to gain experience, but the addict cannot let go of something that they find enjoyable. The average person can pick up a bottle of wine, drink a glass or two and put the cork back in after an extremely stressful day. A person with an addictive personality drinks one glass and pours five more, drinking the entire bottle, never putting the cork back in. An average person can eat a few spoonfuls of a pint of ice cream, cap it and put in back in the freezer for another day. A person with an addictive personality will eat the entire pint with a spoon leaving them wanting more. Not everyone is an addict; not everyone makes every behavior, action, and substance a problem in their lives. It is not normal for one to make normal actions and behaviors and make them a problem. It is not normal to drink excessively everyday and crave more the next day. It is not normal to exercise excessively and still feel that one needs to work out more to feel better about themselves. It is not normal to binge eat. It is not normal to starve oneself or purge. It is not normal to seek comfort in prescription or illegal drugs when life becomes too stressful to handle. It is not normal to trade one addiction for the other. If one believes or thinks they may have an addictive personality one must be aware of the signs and try to find stability to achieve healthy happiness.
The Signs of an Addictive Personality
It is, often times, difficult for people to see and become aware of their own problems, they hide behind themselves and their coping mechanism(s) hoping to never see the light and hoping others will not see their darkness. Even though people who have addictive personalities are not completely aware of their personal issues there are many signs they can try to become aware of to help make small changes in their lives to help prevent poor decision making in the future.
These sings include but are not limited to the following:
Low self esteem
A tendency to impulsive behavior
An antisocial personality
Difficulty delaying gratification
A disposition toward sensation seeking
Someone who values nonconformity to an extreme
Someone with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement that are generally accepted by “normal” society
Someone who is tolerant of deviant behavior
Someone who is socially alienated
Having an increased sense of stress
When one has an addictive personality, addiction becomes a very difficult fight to win. The battle of addiction seems endless and accomplishment seems unreachable, unattainable, and impossible. Even though it seems impossible to get better and lead a more normal life it is possible.
Treating the Addictive Personality
Treating the addictive personality is very difficult, because one not only has to be open about recovery but they also have to be open to seeking the route of the issue, and why one must seek out anything as an addiction to have a feeling of euphoria and instant gratification. The person with an addictive personality may have a single addiction and not realize that they have an addictive personality so they only seek treatment for a sole addiction, when in reality when they finally come out of recovery they become addicted to another vice almost immediately. Recovery for an addictive personality must be much more intensive than someone who become addicted to solely drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. For the addictive personality, rehabilitation centers may not work due to the fact that many centers revolve around a single vice, instead if one has an addictive personality one may find more comfort and treatment in private therapy, so they can talk and begin to find a route to their addictive habits. The person with an addictive personality must understand the reasoning behind their risk seeking behavior and the only way to do so is to partake in a rigorous therapeutic regime.
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Do You Have an Addictive Personality?
Do you become addicted with the first try of a new experience? Do you love the feeling of instant gratification and euphoria? Are you very impulsive? Do you dislike anything that takes time to achieve? Does stress overwhelm you on most days and you do not know how to deal with that heightened stress in a healthy manner? Do you seek risky behaviors? Do you have social anxiety and do you tend to alienate yourself from social gatherings? Do you cope with your emotions, thoughts, and stress with alcohol or other substances? If you answered yes to these questions you may have an addictive personality. Awareness of this is the first step to understanding yourself and your behaviors. This knowledge is not an easy thing to come to terms with and can become extremely overwhelming, but with time and effort you will be able to come to an understanding of your risky behaviors and now you can take the next steps toward recovery so you can lead a healthy life. Remember that recovery is a decision you have to make for yourself, no one can push you toward it. If you feel that your life is unbalanced and you find life stresses difficult to cope with, just think about seeking help. Make the decision of healthy living for yourself, it will not be something you will regret once you reach it. Addiction can happen to anyone, but not everyone becomes addicted to everything and anything.