Four Traits of an Addictive Personality


Debate continues among experts as to whether or not a true addictive personality exists, at least in any quantifiable form.

However, for the sake of this entry, we'll assume that an addictive personality is a clinically recognized entity and examine four suggested traits of a person with an addictive personality.

Social Alienation

Addicts tend to feel a sense of alienation from the social world, and they suffer from an inability to establish meaningful interpersonal connections, perhaps because they feel unworthy of such connections.

Inability to delay gratification

Impulsive or compulsive behavior is a cornerstone of addiction, and people with addictive personalities often can't refuse the temptation for instant gratification. Although succumbing to the desire for that gratification is an outward act of losing control, in the mind of an addict such a compulsion may give them a false sense of being in control of their lives.

An Absence of Stress Management Skills

How does a person with addictive tendencies handle stressful situations? If they lack coping skills, they will respond compulsively by seeking out methods of escape—such as drugs or alcohol. This becomes a means of confronting stressful issues. Like mentioned before, this gives the addict the illusion of control over a situation.

Placing High Value on Non-Conformism

Addicts like to justify their antisocial behaviors by regarding themselves as nonconformists who either defend the underdog or who reject the 'rules' of normal society. Addicts discount how society regards things like success and happiness because they don't fit into those molds, but they don't fit into those molds because they're too devoted to their drug of choice.

To reiterate, debate persists about the nature of the addictive personality. However, if you accept the disease model of addiction, you can begin to see how certain personalities may be more or less prone to addiction. This is important because knowing that one has a predisposition to addiction could go a long way in preventing that person from developing an addiction down the road.

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