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Addictive Personality

An addictive personality will consistently engage in risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors that typically lead to the development of an addiction. Psychologists believe these compulsions are desperate attempts to counteract their inability to experience good feelings.

According to the NIH, “Personality features have long been associated with addictions. Recently, impulsive tendencies have been considered important in the psychopathologies of addictions.”

Additionally, dopamine imbalances, serotonin, and other neurotransmitter levels in the brain can contribute to development. Signs can appear in children as young as 10. Quite often, it involves food, Internet, and other activities which are readily available. Behaviors associated with this condition include:

  • nonconformity
  • deviation from social norms
  • alienation
  • impulsivity

Qualified mental health professionals diagnose it by employing various assessment methods, including:

  • intake interviewing
  • self-evaluation questionnaires
  • IIP scales
  • Temperament and character inventory
  • Iowa screen

Online tests are available, and they may help people become more self-aware of their behaviors. Similar to other conditions, it does appear to have a genetic component. However, certain psychiatrists theorize that genes lie dormant until severe physical, psychological, and environmental stressors trigger the genes. Other characteristics include:

  • Persistent addictions to substance abuse behaviors
  • Emotional instability/feelings of depersonalization and derealization
  • Deficiencies in coping skills and dealing productively with stressful situations
  • Claiming to be sick all the time or having a chronic disorder with no evidence to back up the claims

The DSM-5 does not list the addictive personality as one of the ten primary disorders.

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