Anyone who is an addict can tell you, if you question whether you have an addictive personality, you probably do. To be sure, towards the end of this article a simple addictive personality test uncovers addictive personality traits that characterize addictive personality disorder.
It is important for everyone to know what an addictive personality is for themselves and/or for dealing with problems experienced by a loved one. It is common to have issues in this area and there is plenty of support help available, even for those with serious problems.
According to Psychology Today, addictive personalities represent at least 10% to 15% of all people. Those with addictive personalities suffer from difficulties surrounding addictions of various kinds. It is rare when someone is not affected by addictions because this means that not only do they have a calm non-addicted state of mind and being, but so do those they care about that are around them. Even if you yourself do not have a problem with addictions, it is very likely someone you know has a problem.
The reasons that addictions are so rampant are twofold. First, this type of behavior is part of overall human nature. It is natural for human beings to repetitively pursue things that give them pleasure. Secondly, society, culture, advertising, technology, peer pressure, and more, all combine to make addictions possible and encourage it in many cases.
For a regular person, it is possible to try something temporarily and then stop (much harder to accomplish this with physically additive drugs though). According to Medical Daily, when a person with an addictive personality starts addictive behavior they feel like it is impossible to stop.
The definition of an addictive personality is when a person has specific personality traits that make them more likely to develop addictions. It is possible to get addicted to almost anything. The obvious things are alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling. The next things that come to mind are video games, snack foods, and television watching. It does not stop there.
How about sports? Is love of sports an addiction, too? It certainly can become an addiction. Do you absolutely have to watch a specific game? Even when there is something more important to do? What if your daughter broke her arm, and then came into the house while you were watching the Super Bowl or the finals of the World Cup. Would you make her wait until the game was over to take her to the hospital? On the other hand, if you did take her to the hospital, would you be more concerned about what is going on with the game that what happens with your daughter?
The point is anyone may become addicted to anything. Can you be addicted to a person? Absolutely. The way regular behavior transforms into addictive behavior is defined by the extent of the behavior, how frequently it occurs, and the importance the behavior has over all other things in a person’s life.
What is an Addictive Personality?
According to Harvard’s HelpGuide, addiction occurs when there is an uncontrollable craving for something. A person has no control over the use of the addictive thing and continues to use it in spite of all the problems it creates in a person’s life. The brain changes from addiction. The way pleasure is sought and felt is changed. Both motivation and learning skills are modified in unhealthy ways.
Addiction comes from the Latin root word “addictiō,” which means to surrender or to be enslaved. The quick simple test for addiction is not to guess about it and say stupid things like, “I could stop any time I want,” but to actually completely stop any behavior that feels like an addiction.
Most people, when they are not addicted, can stop. For example, a person who really gets into a video game and plays it all night is potentially exhibiting addiction behavior. On the other hand, if they just really were enjoying themselves with a new video game, played it all night on the weekend, and then stopped when it was time to go back to work on Monday, they are not necessarily addicted to video games. If the first all night video game binge triggers repeats and then they cannot stop; they are addicted.
A person with an addictive personality that plays video games non-stop may forget to eat, stop bathing, lose their jobs, become anti-social, isolate in a room alone playing video games incessantly, and completely destroy the rest of their lives while focusing solely on playing video games.
There are various degrees of addiction from mild to severe. Addictions may start in an innocuous way. A habit becomes addictive. A hobby becomes addictive. Virtually anything has the potential to become addictive. In 2011, as reported by PsychCentral, the American Society of Addiction Medicine redefined addiction to be not just a behavioral problem but to be a “primary, chronic disease of the brain.”
There are “healthy” addictions as well. Exercise for some people is an example of this. In general, exercise is very good for most people unless they have a medical condition that puts them at risk of harm due to exercise. Yet even exercise can become an addiction when taken to the extreme. The reason for this is when exercising, the body releases endorphins in the brain, like dopamine, that create a natural high. It is very possible to become addicted to the natural “rush” caused by exercise.
Do I Have an Addictive Personality?
Here are ten quick Yes or No questions that give a clear indication that a person has an addictive personality.
Please answer each question honestly (This is only for yourself, so why lie to yourself.).
Answer Yes or No
- Have you missed work more than a few times because of partying too much?
- Have you called in sick more than a few times because of having a hangover?
- Do you hide your use of something or some activity you do from others?
- Are you unable to stop thinking about something that compels you?
- Do other people comment about something you do that they say is bad for you?
- Do you feel guilty about anything you do?
- Is there anything you are doing that you know you should stop, but you cannot stop?
- Do you ever say to yourself or others, “I can stop this anytime I want.”?
- Have there been periods where you neglected responsibilities of either work, school, family or friends to pursue something that makes you feel bad afterwards?
- Do you do anything that you or others think is excessive?
If you answered Yes, to even one of the above questions it is highly likely that you have an addictive personality. To explore more, and to be 100% certain there is the free Phelps-Nourse Test online that asks questions that are more detailed.
When one has an addictive personality, they may be in denial, nevertheless when they are honest with themselves they probably already know this about themselves. This is because it has already become a problem at least in some part of their lives.
The point of knowing whether one has an addictive personality or not is especially useful for teenagers, because the wise old saying of “forewarned, forearmed” applies. This means if a person themselves knows that they have a very high potential of becoming addicted to something, they can takes steps to avoid troubles or seek help earlier when the addictive behavior starts.
Many who became addicted to cigarette smoking have said to themselves, “I wish I never smoked the first one.” If a person has an addictive personality, and are still young enough, they have the chance to avoid taking the first one to avoid all the troubles that come later.
With cigarettes, many teenagers are already making this choice to never smoke at all, because they prefer not to become addicted to an expensive poison that eventually kills them. They are not making such a decision because somebody else tells them to do so; they make a good decision for themselves.
When one discovers that they have an addictive personality, they need to be careful because addictions take people to the worst kinds of hell on earth there are, and it is best if possible to avoid that.