Although research indicates that parents with addictive personalities often have children who struggle with addiction, that doesn’t mean addiction is your destiny. No matter how you currently feel about yourself, you weren’t born “flawed” in some way. Human beings are complex creatures, and several different combined factors determine an individual’s vulnerability to addiction. There are some specific clues to watch for to determine if you or your loved one has an addictive personality.
Passions Become Obsessions
A key feature of an addictive personality is the tendency to become passionate about something to the point of fixation or obsession. For people with addictive personalities, what begins as a seemingly harmless and common activity can become obsessive. Here are some examples.
- Video games
- Risk-taking when the consequences outweigh the reward
- Compulsive pornography viewing
- Risky sex
- Comfort eating
- Enjoying a cocktail
There’s a critical difference between healthy enthusiasm and an unhealthy obsession or addiction. The activities listed aren’t necessarily negative if done occasionally or in moderation. However, people with addictive personalities may be engaging in these potentially harmful behaviors as a means of self-medicating. If you can’t stop at “one or two” of anything, it could be a sign that you have a propensity for addiction. The fact is, the behaviors listed offer a temporary escape, and can even offer momentary relief from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you suffer from any of these afflictions, you are in pain, and human beings will do almost anything to stop the pain. It’s a survival mechanism.
The Effect It Has on Your Life
A key to recognizing an addictive personality is watching the effect something has on a person’s life. If any of the following apply to you, you may be at risk.
- Avoidance of friends or family because they interfere with the addiction or you want to hide the addiction
- Anxiety when you can’t engage in the activity
- Decreased interest in work, school, or hobbies
- Inordinate amounts of money or time spent to feed your obsessions
- Inability to stop, no matter how hard you try
If any of these scenarios are familiar to you, you may have an addictive personality. Do you feel like the walls are closing in, and you aren’t sure where to turn for help? We’re here for you, and our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 800-411-8019.