Does Personality Type Affect Addiction?
As far as substance abuse and addiction are concerned, it is evident that there is no single factor responsible. Addicts vary in gender, age, weight, profession, nearly everything: it’s impossible to categorize addiction, or create a general outline of someone with a substance abuse problem. CEO’s and celebrities can very well be addicts, just as those in less affluent situations can find themselves lost in the world of drugs.
Individuals who struggle with drug addiction tend to have a variety of factors that contribute to increasing their susceptibility to substance abuse addiction. Both environmental and biological factors seem to play a role, exposure to drugs and a family history of drug abuse being the most common. That having said, the personality of an individual may also have an impact on their susceptibility to drug abuse addiction.
Which Personality Traits are at Increased Risk for Addiction?
The following four key personality traits have been identified as putting children and teenagers at a greater risk for drug addiction later on in life:
- Impulsive tendencies
- Sensitivity to anxiety
- Negative thinking
- Sensationalized thinking
Because of this correlation, studying personality may greatly help researchers in understanding why this is and if any preventative measures can be taken to protect these younger individuals later on in life.
Several studies have been administered in an attempt to find a scientific link between genetics and substance abuse disorder. These studies were inconclusive, despite the fact that the addiction can, and often does, run in a family. This leads us to believe that the link between genetics and drug addiction is not direct, and personality traits may actually serve as a bridge between the two.
Typically, introverted individuals tend to have fewer positive emotions, be less attracted towards rewards, and more likely to abuse substances. Moreover, individuals who have a tendency to be stressed or depressed and respond poorly to life stressors may be prone to drug abuse. In addition to this, individuals with low levels of constraint, and an ability to stop an action or behavior once you start it, also have an increased risk of abusing drugs and developing an addiction.
Risky Personalities that are Susceptible to Drug Addiction
Although many personality traits are associated with substance abuse addiction, the following personality types seem to be predominant.
While all individuals are impulsive from time to time, habitual impulsivity may be a major sign of an addictive personality. Individuals with an impulsive personality may completely disregard possible negative consequences when instant gratification outweighs safety and precaution. This can extend to anything, even harmless activities such as shopping and fitness. If you have the tendency to go full-force with everything you to an obsessive point, your personality might be impulsive. This explains why such individuals are prone to developing a drug addiction.
The non-conforming individuals tend to be against certain rules or goals that in general are valued by the society and are likely to have a level of disdain for authority. These are the kids that act out in school, or the people that do something because they were told not to. This rebellious behavior brings about a certain type of satisfaction to these individuals. These are usually unable to recognize and realize the negative impact of their behaviors on their own and others’ lives.
Sensation Seeker Personality
Individuals who are sensation seekers are always looking for new, exciting experiences and become bored easily. These individuals tend to be risk takers and adrenaline junkies, and their openness to experimentation is what makes them prone to developing substance addictions. These individuals have a naturally low level of adrenaline, which is why their desire to seek something more is so elevated. In contract, those with naturally high adrenaline levels feel less of a need to act in such a manner.
Individuals who struggle with anxiety or stress almost all the time find it difficult to relax and find contentment. Because of their inability to relax, these individuals are inclining to find a substance that gives them relief and comfort. Once they’ve found their drug, it’s easy for an addiction to develop. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety and you find something to relieve your symptoms, forming a dependence to it almost becomes second nature. When it comes to recovery, the anxious or stressed individual should learn relaxation techniques and coping methods that bring them the same relief without using.
While these personality types may have an increased risk of developing drug abuse addiction, it does not mean they are negative whatsoever. Individuals with type ‘A’ personalities (the thrill seekers, non-conformists, and risk takers) can and do enjoy great success in various areas of life.
Identifying yourself with any of the personality types listed above does not dictate that you are destined for a life ridden with addiction. What is important is to recognize certain personality traits when it comes to dealing with drug abuse, and how your reactions can compromise your ability to control impulses further down the road. Personality screening is a great resource and can be an effective tool for identifying mental health issues that accompany drug-seeking behaviors, including depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
The key to preventing and recovering from substance abuse addiction is to learn ways to manage the stressors that come with risky personality traits by using healthy coping mechanisms. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center offers several methods of therapy that focus on trigger management, and how to cope with stressors that will present themselves throughout your recovery. Our doors are always open, even if it’s just for an initial discussion. Stopping an addiction before it becomes too severe is the best way to successfully combat the issue, reach out today.