Can someone be addicted to more than drugs? People say it all the time: they are addicted to a certain TV show or a dessert at the local restaurant or the new Zelda on the Nintendo Switch. Over and over. And over and over. It’s as if you just can’t stop. Or more like you have no desire to stop. Just an insatiable drive for more. One hit of what you desire is never enough, and likewise, there is no amount that will ever bring you satisfaction. Sound familiar? You could have an addictive personality.
So are these real addictions? Well, yes and no. There is no physical dependence on the supposed “vices” mentioned above. But there may be a link between a personality that easily obsesses and the likelihood of falling into the physical and emotional abyss of actual substance addiction.
What Is an Addictive Personality?
First off, there is no “psychiatric diagnosis” of an addictive personality. There are however certain personality traits that many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have in common. And while these behaviors do not make you a bad person or even mean you are guaranteed to develop a substance addiction, anything that can help people become aware of a possible proclivity towards addiction is worth investigating.
5 Behaviors Associated With Addictive Personality
1. Already addicted
Though it might sound obvious, this is still a warning sign. Addicts are likely to have multiple addictions in their lives. This means that, yes, an alcoholic has a tendency to becoming addicted to smoking. But more than that, there are other areas of life where addictions are prevalent and could be a warning sign:
- Plastic surgery
Clearly some of these are more damaging than others; however, if the signs are there, it’s possible that you have a tendency that can be linked to other addictions.
Impulsivity is when a person acts quickly without deeper thought to the ramifications of their actions. Impulsivity is a dangerous cocktail when mixed with substance addiction because, over time, the ability of an addict to regulate his or her pleasure-seeking attitude with no regard for consequence is greatly diminished. Short-term pleasure takes all precedence over the possible long-term damage to self and to the relationships around them.
Compulsive behavior is an irresistible urge to act in a way that is against one’s own conscious desire. Examples of this are staying in an abusive relationship, obsessions or hoarding, and continuing to pick up food at the drive-thru despite dangerous obesity. Similar to impulsivity, compulsion in addiction can be frighteningly destructive because the deeper the addiction, the more an addict is aware of the harm of their actions. Yet, despite the consequences, they are driven to continue down the harmful path.
4. A love of excitement
By itself, thrill seeking can be healthy and enriching. However, within a dangerous mixture of social, cultural, and domestic influences, a love for excitement can quickly turn into recklessness. Driving fast, sexual flings, all the elements of what make a great rock ’n’ roll song, these create a rush of dopamine to the brain. And it’s not surprising that many addicts will admit that the most exciting thing they ever did was to take that first hit. This need for excitement works in negative conjunction with the lessening effectiveness of drugs with habitual use, thus requiring more of the substance for the addict to get that original rush. It is a cycle that can lead to destruction.
Again, nonconformity can be a positive attribute. However, it can also be a behavior that encourages a person to eschew society’s “war on drugs” or the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and choose to go their own way. Without a need to live up to the expectation put on us by our families or society, it becomes easier to follow a destructive path. Though, the flip side of this coin: a nonconformist’s mind is common amongst artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs.
What does it mean?
Ultimately, there is no analysis, psych test, or even DNA sample that can tell if you are prone to addiction. However, the epidemic is real. If these behaviors sound familiar, and you (or your loved one) seem to be going down a path of addiction to drugs or alcohol, we are here to help. Awareness is just the first step. Please call us today, and we will walk you through the process of finding the right care: 1-844-489-0836.