Typically, when one hears the word “addiction,” they automatically think of the more common types of addiction. From sex to drugs to eating or gambling, there is a large range of things one can get addicted to. More often than not, there are a variety of factors that work together to encourage addiction, allowing it to flourish and blossom in one’s life. Is an addictive personality type one of them? Recently, it has been argued that addictive personalities are not an actual diagnosis, but rather, a make-up of different personality factors that can make one more susceptible to becoming addicted. One important thing to realize is that you can get addicted to anything if you’re not satisfied with life. This, in combination with other personality traits, and even genetics or environment, can contribute to the development of addiction. Some of addictive personality factors are listed below:
Erratic and impulsive behavior is typically the first red flag for possible addicts. Often, individuals who act in impulsive ways see things as black and white, or all or nothing. There is nothing in between. Acting without thinking is a prime example of this behavior. Not being able to restrain yourself or feeling as if you need to consistently be in control and can only do so by giving it your all or nothing, are some warning signs that can allude to an addictive personality.
- Trouble Committing
Often, those who are addicts have trouble committing. Whether this be in a relationship, with life goals, or with simple lunch dates, those with addictive personalities lack the patience to plan long-term and really dedicate themselves because they usually crave gratification. If this gratification is not instant, they are usually impatient and lose interest quickly, as they have trouble waiting for pleasure or rewards.
- Antisocial & Nonconforming Behaviors
Innate antisocial tendencies can also be a sign of having an addictive personality. If you typically are withdrawn, this can lead to the development of insecurities, of feeling like you don’t want to be a part of the latest trends or society. These feelings and insecurities can lead one to turn to a vice in order to cope with the fact that they may feel lonely, or as if they don’t fit in. Eventually, this can lead to complete social isolation, which can make asking for help hard, which, in return, can become another sign of an addictive personality.
- Sensation Seeking Tendencies
Correlated with the idea of a lack of impulse control, those with addictive personalities typically are here for the excitement of things. As mentioned, addictive personalities typically want instant gratification: they expect the pleasure and reward to come quickly, and thus, they like to do things that gives them that rush. This “rush” is typically a flux of dopamine in the brain. By increasing the feeling of pleasure in the brain, addictive personalities then began to crave it more and more, leading to more reckless behaviors.
- A Tendency to Be Stressed
While everyone gets stressed or anxious, those who show a higher tendency to be consistently stressed or nervous can be prone to addictive personality types. This is because one may crave a release from the internal struggle: they want to feel something other than panic or worry.
Lastly, mood swings can be a sign in which one may have an addictive personality. The instable motion of feeling high and then low, whether this be with your emotions, mental health or physical health, can lead individuals to find a middle ground or plateau for the “in-between.” Stabilizing moods can be difficult, and addiction may aid in this, especially if one is ready to avoid the instability.
Just because you or a loved one may exhibit some of these signs or symptoms does not mean you are going to become addicted to sex or drugs or gambling. In fact, it doesn’t mean that you are one-hundred-percent-for-sure going to get addicted to anything at all. Personality traits can make one prone to things such as addiction, but it is important to remember that there are other factors that play a role in developing an addiction, such as genetics and environmental influences.