One can never determine a person’s proclivity toward illicit substances based on his or her personality. If it would have been easy to determine which personality types were more prone to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, then half the problem of the researchers would have been successfully solved. However, with an ever-increasing number of research and studies, it has been possible to identify the indicators that can predict what kind of individuals are more prone to addiction. However, it appears that the answers are still pretty sketchy and not quite so “cut and dried.”
Psychologists have gone so far as to name the elusive personality type as the “Addictive Personality” who would be more prone to indulge in substance abuse and thereby develop a substance use disorder (SUD). This type of personality is generally based on certain presumptions about traits that are considered to make an individual more inclined toward developing an addiction. Despite these assumptions, it cannot be said with certainty that every individual displaying these characteristics will develop an addiction to substances sooner or later. These are just indicators to forewarn about a possible risk. These are the traits that have been often observed among people with a SUD.
Risky traits that elicit substance-seeking tendencies
Researchers have highlighted certain key characteristics mentioned below that can increase the chances indulging in substance abuse:
- All or nothing – Certain people tend to go through life either by overindulging and going all the way or doing nothing at all. It can be seen in their everyday activities, such as cleaning, cooking and eating. There is a sense of unpredictability in their character.
- Irresistible urges – Some people tend to overdo things without intending to and they tend to have no control over their activities or urges, be it going out with friends to having a single drink that ends up turning into several drinks, or eating a bowl of ice cream and ending up having a whole container. Such irresistible urges indicate a compulsive behavior. There is an element of impatience in their activities. Since they need immediate fulfillment and pleasure, they are unable to delay gratification.
- Pride in nonconformity – Among peers, the guy who breaks the rules is often, in a misplaced sense, held in high esteem, and then there are those who take pride in doing so. Traits such as these often cause social alienation and reclusiveness down the road.
- Low coping skills – A low threshold to stress and anxiety forces individuals to rely on something else, such as food, drugs or alcohol, to relieve them from their sufferings. Instead of facing the reality, a person going through stress tends to escape into an altogether different world due to the consumption of substances like drugs and alcohol, thereby further increasing the gap between them and reality. They later drift into a denial mode about their addiction.
- Mental health issues – Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, etc., invariably augment the risk of developing a dependence on substances.
- Low self-esteem – Far more people suffer from low self-esteem than one may realize. Some people tend to depend on substances to bring out their vibrant selves and to project a more confident face in front of other people. Some people tend to hide their insecurities by being experimental and adventurous in terms of substances.
Programs to curb drug use in middle school
One of the most effective applications for identifying personality traits for a risky behavior like substance abuse is being used by an anti-drug program called “Preventure.” The program aims to identify at-risk individuals based on personality testing and has been devised keeping in mind that the risk of drug use is driven by a child’s traits and temperament that create different pathways to addiction. The program focuses on identifying four risky traits, such as sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness. The idea behind Preventure is to identify the outlying personalities and prevent them from indulging in dangerous thoughts and behaviors.
Preventure has been tested in eight randomized trials in Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada and has shown to be effective in reducing binge drinking, frequent drug use and alcohol-related problems. Early trials have displayed that personality testing can successfully identify 90 percent of the high-risk children for therapy, which can avert potential addiction problems they would have encountered in the future.
If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs, contact the treatment advisers of the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to get access to some of the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-576-4147 or chat online to access the best drug rehabilitation center clinic in Arizona.