Personality Traits Common with Addiction
Those who suffer with the disease of addiction have a multitude of personality traits in common. It is amazing how similar these traits are among the majority that I treat who suffer from drug addiction and/or alcoholism.
Almost invariably, these people report that they have been restless, irritable and discontented from their earliest memories. They have a difficult time living in the present because they continuously project into the future or live in the past.
By Kari Mackneer, Clinical Director, Clean Recovery Centers
Other common traits
Paranoia is also prevalent. Addicts constantly feel that everyone is thinking about them and judging them. This may be hard to believe for those who do not suffer from addiction, but, based on my over 20 years of addiction and mental health therapy, it is very real.
Such predictable traits further demonstrate that this condition is a disease. In fact, addiction seems to be very much a “thinking” disease. By that I mean the suffering person’s thinking is so uncomfortable that they feel a need to medicate it away. Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary reprieve from this thinking as chemicals in the brain responsible for euphoria are increased by usage.
Increased use can be deadly
But the relief is just temporary. With ever increasing usage, what follows is addiction, which is the psychological and physiological compulsion or need to use increasing amounts of the substance or substances. This ongoing addictive use further scrambles thought patterns and the ability to make sound judgments. In fact, the physical side effects of increased use and withdrawal can be deadly.
Although I see this type of thinking the majority of the time, there are exceptions. Some who develop addiction report that their childhoods were happy and that they were reasonably happy most of their lives. They started using socially. But at some point it became a problem, and they could not stop.
For these people, the frame of mind that is seemingly innate with most addicts becomes their way of thinking and being after their addiction has been triggered. Without the substance or substances, these people are restless, irritable, discontented and paranoid.
The good news is that drug addiction and alcoholism are very treatable diseases. At this time there is no cure, but the disease can be successfully put into remission. Most addicts and alcoholics that get into a strong recovery program and then continue with it often go on to live lives more abundant and fulfilling than they could have imagined.
Why is this?
First, a strong recovery focuses on preprograming the mind. People learn to change their thinking. Most of the negative feelings dissipate as new healthy neuropathways are carved into the brain, and the addictive neuropathways shrink.
In addition, these people learn essential coping skills and learn to live life on life’s terms. This is essential for anyone who wants to live a healthy, productive and happy life.