Are some of us more likely to become addicted to something than others? Are there certain personality traits that cause some of us to be more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol or to become smokers or gamblers or binge eaters and make it more difficult to kick our respective habits?
Psychologists have drawn parallels between people who display self destructive behavior or compulsive behavior, and addictions. It has been seen that certain personality traits and factors are more likely to not only to cause addictive behavior but may also make recovery and breaking the cycle of addiction more difficult.
Warning signs of the addict or an addict in the making:
A person with an addictive personality may desire and seek instant gratification. They may not be able to reasonably postpone that gratification and may often be impulsive and reckless.
Sometimes the person could display anantisocial bent of mind, though many addictive personalities could have sparking dispositions and may be socially very popular. Isolation and a feeling of social alienation could also be a part of this personality type.
A difficulty in being able to commit to goals or relationships of a longer term may also be hallmarks of the addict. In particular the achievements and goals that society seems to value may hold no interest for this personality type, who may display a strong non-conformist streak in their nature.
The addict could be a sensation seeker who seeks thrills and excitement all the time and is not averse to pushing the limits of safety or decency to do this.
The addict will typically handle stress and stressful situations poorly. Their mental makeup makes them unable to tolerate stress very well or respond to it in a constructive manner. For this reason the worst phase of their addictions could well coincide with stressful situations or occurrences.
Other warning signs could be the displays of compulsive behavior: watching TV compulsively and for too long, being online for long periods, or long binges of gaming, overeating or even drinking too many caffeinated beverages could tie in with the personality pattern of an addict. Even compulsive shopping, exercising and excessive tanning could be warning signs.
Do addictive personalities make good leaders?
There is some evidence to show that addictive personalities could have certain leadership qualities that seems to tie in with the general risk taking aspect of these personalities. Thinking boldly and not being hampered by social norms and conventions could contribute to the charisma that could let a person be seen as having leadership qualities. Being a perfectionist or being obsessive about what has to be done can be difficult to live with, but these are the qualities that make a good leader.
When properly channeled, a person with such obsessive traits could really succeed in life, but in cases those very same traits could mean the undoing of the person. So it is not the personality traits per se that predispose a person to addictions; but rather the way that these traits respond to situations and stimuli.