Many people claim to have an “addictive personality”. For us, that feels like quite a lazy expression, blame for something that is out of someone’s hands, diverting from the fact we are responsible for our own actions.
But of course, when it comes to actual addiction, and not eating one too many chocolates once in a while, the idea of an “addictive personality” becomes a little more serious. People often ask the question, can you suffer from alcohol addiction or drug addiction because you were born with such a personality?
Well, the truth is no. Becoming addicted to a substance isn’t to do with how you were born, but rather a variety of factors, meaning that absolutely anyone can suffer from addiction.
Research on personality traits
However, it is still a little more complex than that. Studies have shown that people with certain personality traits can be more likely to suffer from addiction, as they are much more likely to find themselves in particular environments. For example, one study that analysed impulsive traits in youths found that those who were more likely to act impulsively were more inclined to take risks and therefore try various substances, increasing the chance of becoming addicted.
Thrill seekers and people who are typically nonconformists are also more likely to suffer from addiction, while as a whole the increased chance of suffering addiction and seeking out inpatient alcohol rehab can often be put down to a number of reasons which include:
Our genetic makeup can make up for up to 60% of the reason why someone develops an addiction. Therefore, if you have family members that have suffered from addiction, it’s worthwhile seeing a professional to uncover whether you share similar genetic patterns.
Stress is a huge contributing factor in people suffering from addiction, whether that be through work, trauma or any other reason. People often turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism for stress and that can lead down a difficult pathway that requires rehab to get out of.
You’ll have heard the expression of being a “product of your environment” and that can be the case when it comes to addiction. If a person is surrounded by substance abuse, then it’s naturally going to have an impact on a person and they could see it as acceptable and a part of their life, particularly if subject to it from an early age when the brain hasn’t fully developed.
It’s dangerous to believe that a person’s fate with addiction can come down to purely having an “addictive personality”, and it’s important to understand that anyone can suffer should they fall into a particular dynamic of circumstances. Believing you aren’t addicted because you don’t have an “addictive personality” or believing you are destined to suffer because you have one, can be costly, and even be life-threatening, which is why it’s important to bust the myths for anyone who believes they have one.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.