Addictive Personality and Addiction

addictive personality and addiction

Some people repress unpleasant memories and emotions. That is why they develop unhealthy behaviors. When you compare substance use disorders to being addicted to food or video games, addictions to food and video games don’t seem to be too bad. 

There is only a problem when the object of the addiction goes from being video games to illicit substances.

What Is an Addictive Personality?

Someone with an addictive personality is more likely to become addicted to a substance or a thing than another person. This personality type takes his or her passions to the extreme and may even become obsessed with them. 

It’s the reason that kids play video games for hours on end. Or, why some people do not seem to be able to eat enough food or have enough sex. They may also overindulge with drugs. 

According to experts, all of this comes from anxiety or depression that the affected person is unable to acknowledge. They also have poor impulse control.

What Are the Signs of an Addictive Personality Disorder?

The following signs are indicators of addictive personality disorder:

  • Binge eating
  • Drinking alcohol when socializing or trying to relax
  • Excessively checking one’s status on social media
  • Being sexually promiscuous for a false sense of security
  • Shopping impulsively
  • Gambling
  • Taking excessive risks
  • Coping with life by taking drugs
  • The inability to feel satisfied with oneself
  • Using harmful chemicals without the ability to stop
  • Engaging in harmful activities

How Does Genetics Play a Role in Addictive Personality Disorders?

Scientists discovered through research that there is a possibility that an addictive personality disorder is in a person’s genes. People diagnosed with addictive personality disorders also had parents with addictions to substances.

Adult children of parents diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety are more likely to have an addictive personality.

The only reason that someone has an addictive personality disorder is not just because of his or her genes, but it does have an impact on the child’s personality.

Other Common Mental Illnesses that Co-Occur with an Addictive Personality

Medical professionals diagnosed their patients with anxiety more than any other mental illness. People diagnosed with substance use disorder are also diagnosed with anxiety in large numbers. The reason is that drug use causes an anxiety issue to get worse. Also, drug use causes changes in the brain that cause the person to experience anxiety.

The fact is that more people diagnosed with substance use disorder and addiction personality disorder also receive a diagnosis of anxiety. Substance use disorder is a very common condition in people with anxiety. Anxiety contributes to substance use disorder for several reasons, including the following:

Self-Medication: The theory is that people begin to take illicit substances because they are medicating the psychological and physical symptoms of their mental illnesses.

Biochemical Influences: A chemical imbalance in the brain may be the reason that a mental illness and a substance use disorder manifest themselves. For example, a person with a low serotonin level may become addicted to alcohol and develop an addictive personality disorder.

Genetics: As was mentioned above, genetics plays a role in mental illness and substance use disorder. If someone comes from a family where addiction and anxiety are prevalent among the members, that person is likely to suffer from anxiety and substance use disorder too.

Additional Anxiety Disorders

Medical professionals diagnose the following anxiety disorders more often than others:

Generalized anxiety disorder: Someone suffering from this condition experiences anxiety a majority of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have a cause. These people worry about many different things throughout the day. Generally, these worries are not based on reality.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: This disorder develops after a traumatic event. A person with PTSD relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks.

Panic disorder: The person experiences panic attacks that lead her to believe that she is going to die. She experiences symptoms of dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and chest pain.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Addictive personality treatment requires that a person receive treatment for a diagnosed mental illness and a substance use disorder. Clinicians now receive extensive training in the treatment of both disorders. This type of treatment is called “dual diagnosis” because the therapist treats a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time.

Treatment facilities offer substance and addictive personality treatment, and it begins with detoxification. During the detoxification process, the medical staff administers medications that make the withdrawal process easier for the member to tolerate. Then, it is less likely that the member will go in search of his drug of choice before he completes his treatment program.

After detoxification, the member isn’t finished with the rehabilitation process. The member has social, psychological, and behavioral issues to work out, and this must be done in one of the following types of treatment programs:

Residential Treatment

Members live at residential treatment centers for long-term says of six months or 12 months. Members have a chance to explore their psychological and social deficits as they learn to become accountable for their actions. The therapy consists of several types of counseling options, including the following:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Treatment facilities use this therapy to treat addictive personality disorder. The members learn to recognize the maladaptive behaviors that lead to drug use. Then, they learn alternative skills that lead them away from those behaviors. This treatment helps them keep from relapsing into their drug use.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This treatment is excellent for treating substance use disorders, but it is also highly recommended for treating personality disorders. This treatment shows members how they can reduce their cravings and avoid the opportunities they have to take their drugs of choice again. They learn to resist behaviors that lead them to use drugs and learn how to live healthier lives.

Members participate in group therapy and individual therapy where they practice the new skills that they learn in their therapy sessions. The facility also invites the members’ family members to engage in family therapy.

Treatment centers also offer members job training and other services that they might need.

Outpatient Treatment

If someone isn’t in favor of living at a treatment facility, she has the option of entering into an outpatient treatment program. This is an excellent choice for people without the ability to leave their jobs for an extended period of time. It is also great if the person has children. 

Members can receive all of the treatments offered in a residential program. For example, detox is an option, and they will have several types of therapy as well. An outpatient program also treats people for co-occurring conditions.

Partial Hospitalization Program

Partial hospitalization offers people addictive personality treatment as well as substance use disorder treatment. It does not require that the member lives at the facility. Although it is “partial hospitalization,” it is still an intensive program. 

They do require that the member remains in addictive personality treatment longer than they would be in the ordinary outpatient treatment center. It is a very appropriate program for treating dual diagnosis disorders.

A member in a partial hospitalization program receives the same detoxification opportunity as those in residential treatment. Afterward, they begin their behavioral therapy sessions. The difference is that people in partial hospitalization enjoy more freedom than those in residential programs.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs treat people for mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This addictive personality treatment does not offer the members around-the-clock care. These members do not go through detox in this program. Since the members are living at home, they enjoy much more flexibility than those in residential treatment programs.

The intensive outpatient program is instrumental in keeping someone off of drugs after he leaves a residential treatment center. These programs offer them the support they need while they are living on their own and offer them coping strategies that prevent them from relapsing.

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for this addictive personality treatment. If the person doesn’t have a safe home to return to with supportive friends and family members, a residential program is better. The person may live in a home where people are still drinking or taking drugs. Professionals suggest that these people remain at a residential facility instead.

What Is the Difference between the Outpatient Program, So PHP, and IOP?

It appears as if the outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs are the same treatments. The intensive outpatient program and the partial hospitalization programs are similar, but the difference is in how much time the member spends in treatment. The partial hospitalization program gives members the most time.

A therapist schedules members to be in therapy sessions two to four hours per day. They must also attend these sessions three or four days a week in the intensive outpatient program. In contrast, partial hospitalization requires therapy sessions that last between four and six hours. They must attend therapy sessions for three to five days per week.

What Is Addiction Therapy?

Addiction therapy is treatment that seeks to keep people from compulsively going in search of their drugs of choice. Addiction is a disease that occasionally relapses, so medical professionals treat addictions as chronic conditions. The remedy consists of treating the individual with medications that relieve withdrawal symptoms. Then, the person can concentrate on the psychological addiction with behavioral therapy.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Those addicted to opioids receive treatment with Naltrexone, Buprenorphine, and methadone. The medical staff administers Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and disulfiram to those addicted to alcohol. Members diagnosed with co-occurring mental disorders receive treatment with medication as well. These medications include antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs.

In addition to the medications listed above, addictive personality treatment also includes individual and group therapy. In group therapy, members have a support system that encourages them to continue with their treatment programs.

If you or a loved one are looking for treatment for addiction or co-occurring disorders, contact us by clicking on the link.

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.