Even if someone may be genetically predisposed to addiction, it doesn’t mean he or she will become an addict. It’s true, however, that there are common personality traits and behaviors found among addicts.
If you have a loved one you suspect may be suffering from an addiction, whether it’s opioids or alcohol, take a step back and see if you can identify any of these addiction traits and behaviors.
Impulsivity is one of the most common addiction traits. This type of behavior is called “black and white thinking.” Impulsive people see each situation as all-or-nothing. This can include going all the way, such as in exercise or eating – or it can consist of the opposite extreme, which is doing nothing. This type of behavior relates to instant gratification. People that suffer from these traits want to be happy in the moment and don’t have the ability to hold out for better things, which includes making long-term goals and plans.
When someone suffers from compulsion, it gives them the strong, irresistible urge to do something, despite the conscious desire that something is unhealthy or they shouldn’t do it. This can include drinking alcohol, taking drugs, spending money or even binge eating. For example, compulsive behavior is when someone regularly goes out for one drink, but that one drink leads to the compulsion to drink many drinks.
A significant percentage of addicts place a very high value on being nonconformists and say they are different from other people. While individuality is celebrated, when it is taken to extremes, it can cause reclusiveness and social alienation.
Low self-esteem is very common, affecting far more people than most realize. Whether someone feels inadequate, suffers from depression or experiences social anxiety disorder because they are shy, many people suffering from low self-esteem may use substances to help gain confidence or courage. This can be especially true during the vulnerable teenage years when young adults desperately want to fit in with their peers.
Inability to Deal with Stress
People that have a more difficult time dealing with everyday stresses may be at a higher risk to become addicts because they may turn to drugs, alcohol or food to help them cope. When their stress does not stop or increases, they may seek more and more of the substance to help deal with their anxiety symptoms.
Often dubbed a “class clown,” someone who is loud and craves attention all the time, thinking the world revolves around them, is usually displaying this behavior as a way to hide low self-esteem or insecurities.
Lack of Patience
Because addicts rely on receiving pleasure and fulfilling their desires immediately, they have a lack of patience.
Addicts demonstrate difficulty living on life’s terms. This is because they don’t have the necessary coping skills to do so. Instead of using healthy coping techniques, they turn to drugs or alcohol. These substances create an altered reality, which makes it very hard for addicts to admit that they have a problem. Denial leads to their downward spiral.
People that exhibit antisocial behaviors, such as those stemming from anxiety or nonconformity, may turn to drugs or alcohol to replace socializing with people. However, if someone suffers from antisocial disorders, they may require the use of drugs or alcohol to be around people.
Mental Health Disorders
Because so many mental health disorders are the underlying cause of addiction, Acqua Recovery focuses on providing evidence-based Dual Diagnosis treatment.
Mental health plays a significant role in addiction and studies show that more than 50% of those suffering from addiction have an underlying mental illness. Additionally, nearly 33% of people diagnosed with a mental illness also suffer from some form of substance addiction.
This means that mental health disorders are the leading risk factors for someone developing an addiction. Mental health disorders may include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression or personality disorders.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from addiction, contact Acqua Recovery for additional information and resources to help your loved one get the necessary addiction therapy services they need to recover and learn to live life to the fullest without addiction.