Have you ever heard people say that they or someone they know has an “addictive personality”? Perhaps, you’ve thought this about yourself after staying up all night to shop online for the umpteenth time. Or maybe you’ve wondered if a loved one is stuck in another financial hardship because he or she has an addictive personality.
On the other hand, maybe you or someone you care about has shown some concerning behavior and may be on the road to developing a harmful addiction problem.
The truth of the matter is that addiction is very complex. People can become addicted to specific substances, behaviors, and activities. And, yes, there is definitely such a thing as an addictive personality.
However, it’s important to understand that not everyone who is extremely interested in or passionate about certain things have an addictive personality. While some have trouble finding a healthy balance between pursuing their passions and taking care of themselves, it doesn’t always mean that they have addictive personality traits.
Even so, though, it’s certainly a good idea to get a better understanding of the traits of a person with an addictive personality. If indeed you or your loved one is dealing with any of these traits, it will be very important to seek help in order to avoid further problems, such as substance abuse.
What is an Addictive Personality?
Often, people use this phrase without truly realizing what it means to have an addictive personality. In short, an addictive personality is the presence of traits that could eventually lead to an addiction.
If a person has particular personality traits, it’s possible that he or she is at risk for developing an addiction problem. Again, addictions can come in many different forms, including gambling, shopping, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, and even exercise.
In many cases, people who have addictive personalities may seem to show obsessive behaviors. Sometimes, it can be difficult for them to gain control over their actions. One of the most challenging parts of understanding addictive characteristics.
But, to put it simply, the brain releases endorphins, which are basically “feel good” chemicals that result in happy and euphoric experiences. When a person is engaged in certain activities, such as shopping or drinking alcohol, the body’s endorphin release may cause that person to associate happiness with that particular activity.
This often causes individuals to feel driven and urged to engage in that behavior more often in search of that good feeling they experienced before. Eventually, individuals may develop addictions for those specific activities or behaviors.
Identifying the Traits of an Addictive Personality
When it comes to identifying an addictive personality, it’s important to focus on the characteristics a person may have if he or she has this personality.
As you learn more about the traits that could indicate that a person has an addictive personality, you may identify some of these signs in your own life or in the life of a family member or friend. If so, it’s important to also learn exactly what to do to avoid addiction.
Now, let’s discuss the signs of an addictive personality.
Impulsivity and Risk Taking: Sometimes, people who have an impulsive nature might be showing signs of an addictive personality. Individuals who tend to act on impulse act quickly without really considering or caring about the possible consequences. Their behaviors may put them in risky and dangerous situations very quickly.
As we mentioned earlier, the body’s internal release of endorphins causes people to associate “feeling good” with the activity they are doing at the time the endorphins are released. Acting on impulse often causes individuals to feel pleasure. So, it may happen more and more frequently, leading to harmful and dangerous consequences, including drug or alcohol use, unprotected sex, and financial problems as a result of excessive shopping or gambling.
Compulsive Behavior: This is different from impulsive behavior in that individuals who act on impulse do not tend to think about the effects of their actions before they act. A compulsion is a strong urge to do something, sometimes against the individual’s will. In other words, compulsive behaviors are often premeditated. People do think about and understand the negative effects of their impending behavior. But, because of the strength of the urge, they may still engage in the behavior.
Depression: In some cases, people who have addictive personalities may suffer from depression. They may feel down or discouraged often and show other signs of depression such as restlessness, lack of concentration, and loss of appetite.
Anxiety: People who struggle with anxiety, excessive and constant nervousness even without the threat of danger, may have an addictive personality.
Constant Need for Stimulation: Some individuals may seem to need stimulation or excitement more often than most others. They may tend to partake in stimulation-seeking activities and behaviors in order to feed that craving. These individuals prefer thrill-inducing, adrenaline-pumping activities over the less exciting things in life.
Although these activities have their place and can even be good for us to engage in, a constant desire to be involved in stimulating behaviors can be dangerous. It can lead people to engage in risky situations and even lead to impulsive and harmful decisions. Sometimes, this personality trait provides a direct line to substance addiction as people may seek to experiment with something new, such as a drug that produces euphoria, or a “high”.
Do I Have an Addictive Personality?
Have you noticed any of those characteristics in your life? The personality traits we mentioned might actually show themselves in the lives of people all around you. Sometimes, the fact that some of these symptoms are fairly common leads to a bit of confusion.
Some individuals think that they have an addictive personality but they may not. Others may not realize that they actually do have an addictive personality. This is why it’s so important to seek help from a professional.
If you have found yourself thinking about drug or alcohol use, it’s possible that you could be on the road to addiction. Maybe you’ve been thinking obsessively about exercising or eating. Obsessive thought patterns and behaviors can definitely be signs of an addictive personality. So, it’s important to seek professional help right away if you think there is a threat of addiction in your life.
If you need to speak with someone about this matter, please reach out to us today here at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Let us help you find the best way to avoid or overcome addiction in your life. Call us at (866) 319-6126.