Addiction takes many guises — it doesn’t always have to be things like alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.
Those are some of the hardest things people with addictions can grapple with. But people can become addicted to just about anything – especially if they have what is known as an “addictive personality”.
An addictive personality is a set of personality traits that make someone more susceptible to addiction. Because it is a behavioural problem, it often goes beyond physically addictive substances, and can become about behavioural addictions.
Someone with an addictive personality could find themselves addicted to video games, food, pornography or even terrible relationships. If they can’t stop behaving in ways that negatively affect their life, the behaviour could be seen as an addiction.
Destructive behaviour can destroy relationships and other aspects of your everyday life. If you’re not sure whether or not you have an addictive personality, here are some of the key traits to look out for.
1. Unable to control impulsive behaviour.
If you feel as though you can’t resist the appeal of a new activity or hobby, this could be an indicator of an addictive personality. A consistent or unrelenting need to take part in the “next big thing” is not a stable approach to daily life.
2. Don’t care about conforming to social norms.
Experts believe that many people who have addictive personalities consider themselves to be “rebels”. They aren’t interested in fitting in with social norms and are more interested in doing things that other people might consider to be deviant.
3. Can’t commit to personal goals and values.
People who struggle with impulsive behaviour often find they have a weak overall commitment to their personal values and goals. When a new impulse comes along, they leave behind their former desires and passions as they chase a new activity or concept.
4. Anti-social tendencies
People with addictive personalities often tend to have anti-social personalities as well. They may have turned to alcohol or drug abuse, or other vices, because they feel withdrawn from society. Other insecurities such as fear of rejection, fear of failure and so on can also come in to play. Being anti-social increases the difficulty of being able to ask for help.
5. High levels of stress and anxiety
Addictive personalities are often burdened with a great deal of stress and anxiety to boot. There are many reasons for it, from feeling regret about impulsive behaviours, substance abuse or the disappointments that others feel in you.
6. An extreme love for excitement
People with addictive personalities are often thrill-seekers who love to live on the edge. Their love of excitement can include driving excessively fast, taking part in extreme sports and partaking of illegal substances. The risks give off a rush of dopamine in the person’s brain that makes them feel pleasure. Once they become accustomed to experiencing it, because of their addictive personality, they begin to crave the rush more and more.
7. Mood swings and low self worth
A negative self-image and a disposition towards mood swings are another tell-tale sign. When the thrill of a new impulse or addiction wears off and no longer gives a “high”, all that’s left are the ramifications of the behaviour.
The good news is, that all addictions are manageable if you are willing to put in the hard work to overcome them and if you seek appropriate help.