An addictive personality does not only apply to drugs and alcohol, although it does play some role in being more susceptible to becoming an addict or alcoholic. Having an addictive personality is not always a bad thing, but can lead people into dangerous and bad habits.
What is an Addictive Personality
An addictive personality is a personality that is more likely to become addicted to something. This can apply to someone becoming extremely passionate about a topic, belief, behavior, and more. This can lead to developing an unhealthy fixation or obsession. There are underlying factors that play roles in someone getting too carried away. Sometimes, hidden anxieties, poor impulse control, depression, or PTSD can be the driving force behind these obsessions. These behaviors, thoughts, and topics can include food, sex, video games, the internet, and substance abuse. In some cases, these addictive and obsessive thoughts can lead to full-blown addictions. Some of these thoughts and behaviors can be a subconscious attempt to heal an unrealized or repressed emotion or trauma. These thoughts and behaviors, at first glance, may seem harmless. For example, comparing an obsession with food or a video game can seem “not as bad” as a substance abuse problem, but they are. These fixations and obsessions can take control over lives. Missing work or school from staying up too late because of a video game or becoming bulimic or anorexic because an obsession with food is negative consequences because of these behaviors. Ignoring these negative consequences is a classic sign of an addiction. Addictive personalities can cause a person to go through phases. Using food, for example, one may eat one type of food for months and then transition to a completely different object, including substances.
What are Indicators of Addictive Personalities
There are different traits that people with addictive personalities have. These traits may not show themselves immediately, but there are signs to look out for. Mental illnesses, anxiety, depression, can, but not always, indicate there may be a problem. Changing behaviors can also be a strong indicator to look out for, as well. Perhaps you begin to notice after a meal your friend or loved one begins going to the bathroom right after eating. Poor body image and self-control can feed into progressing into dangerous and unhealthy disorders, like bulimia or anorexia. There are classic signs of addictive personalities, they can include:
- Binge eating or eating very little
- Obsessing over situations or topics
- Excessive and unnecessary risk-taking
- The inability to stop shopping, gambling, impulsive behaviors
- Unnecessary extreme reactions to discussing the topic of the possible problem
- Substance abuse
- Never feeling satisfied and continuously needing more of a particular feeling
There has to be a point, when you realize these signs, that you begin to put healthy boundaries in place. Even if they try to hide their harmful behaviors it will get to a point where hiding it is not an option anymore.
Where do Addictive Personalities Come From
Genetics do play a role in these types of personalities. Researchers have found links to those born with parents that have been addicted to a substance or have exhibited addictive behaviors themselves. There is more research going into these personality defects. Also, those born to parents that have suffered from mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, extreme anxiety show signs of being predisposed to having an addictive personality. Growing up with a parent or parents, a guardian, or another family member with any of those traits may influence the child into similar behaviors. A mother constantly talking about weight as a negative issue can lead the child right into an eating disorder.
A person’s personal interests can lead them to develop addictive personalities. A person that is constantly restless or is always in need of stimulation is at risk for falling into this type of behavior. In these types of cases, the development of characteristics can drastically impact decision making. Poor decision making and lack of impulse control are a perfect storm to develop addictive tendencies. When someone finds what they think can keep making them feel good or better, in most cases, they will continue to repeat that behavior. Therefore developing habits that can easily turn into addictions. Addictions will always progress.
Having an addictive personality will not or does not have to always lead someone down a bad path. The most important part of having an addictive personality is recognizing and coping with it. Try and find ways to express yourself in healthy ways. Put your passion into something positive, but always take time to check yourself that those addictive tendencies are not creeping up and beginning to take over. Be aware of your feelings and where they are coming from. Identify what your intentions are and be sure you are coming from the right place. Substance abuse is, unfortunately, the place addictive personalities end up. This is a solvable problem. Just be aware of yourself, your intentions, your thoughts, your behaviors, and most importantly- your feelings.