Do You Have An Addictive Personality?
You may have heard the term addictive personality when used to describe anything from heroin addiction to an obsession with powdered donuts. It may be overused, but there is truth in the phrase. We know that people with a family history of addiction are more likely than others to develop an addiction of their own. We also know that although there is no single gene causing addiction, there are several genetic factors that contribute to the disease.
Signs You Have An Addictive Personality
Do you have risk factors for addiction? Do you have an addictive personality? Here are some signs that you might.
You’re A Thrill Seeker
Adrenaline junkies, those who look for excitement and new experiences to get a kick, are more likely to become addicted to substances. In many ways this kind of behavior is healthy. Maybe you are a world traveler because learning about different cultures is exciting for you, or you channel your need for a thrill into activities like sky diving or competitive sports. Thrill-seeking can be a great way to try and experience new things, but sometimes this means trying drugs.
The good news is that adrenaline junkies are more likely than others to experiment with drugs, but without other risk factors they tend to remain only recreational users. They don’t become addicted in most cases, unless they also exhibit one or both of the personality traits below.
You Are Impulsive
Impulsivity means acting without thinking about the consequences. Some people would describe this trait as poor self-control. Maybe you are trying to lose a few pounds, but you get dessert at a restaurant anyway. Or you have that extra drink at a party even though you know you have to get up early the next morning. You might say something without thinking and end up putting your foot in your mouth. These are all signs of being impulsive.
Impulsivity combined with the need to seek out thrills and exciting experiences correlates strongly with drug or alcohol addiction. If you are an adrenaline junkie but have good self-control and are not impulsive, you might try drugs but not become addicted. Similarly if you tend to be impulsive, but you like to stay safe and not look for exciting thrills, you are unlikely to try drugs in the first place. If you seek out thrills and also tend to act without thinking, you are at a high risk for trying drugs and getting hooked as a result.
You Are Compulsive
Being compulsive means engaging in a behavior repeatedly in spite of negative consequences. This is a classic hallmark of addiction, but it can apply in many other situations. For example, you are compulsive if you bite your nails and cuticles until they bleed and get infected. You know it’s bad for you, but you keep doing it. Another way to think of compulsivity is having bad habits. Addicts use over and over again in spite of all the harm it causes.
How To Battle An Addictive Personality
Impulsivity, thrill-seeking and compulsivity have been found to be three common traits among addicts. If you recognize all of them in yourself, you may describe your personality as addictive, but it doesn’t mean you have to become an addict.
Fight your addictive instincts by being aware of your feelings, behaviors and choices. Check your impulsive decisions and analyze your bad habits. Figure out what your motivations are and work to change bad habits that you already have. Learn to cope with your negative emotions in healthier ways. If you are conscious about what you do and why, you don’t have to let your personality traits dictate the outcome of your life.