An addictive personality isn’t an official diagnosis, but it’s a very real set of behaviors that affects many people. Thankfully, an addiction that arose due to an addictive personality can be overcome through targeted mental health intervention. At Silver Sands Recovery, our team has a wealth of experience helping people overcome addiction and can help you or your loved one achieve recovery as well.
What Is an Addictive Personality?
An addictive personality is essentially a problem of impulse control. People with these personality traits may engage in a number of different addictive behaviors, including:1
- Substance use
- Compulsively playing video games
- Excessive exercise
- Latching onto romantic relationships
People who have an addictive personality get “hooked” onto certain activities and have difficulty controlling their behavior. They may often switch between different types of activities, but the excessive time, energy, and thought put into these activities shows their addictive nature.
Of course, not everyone who engages in these activities has an addictive personality. The key characteristic of an addictive personality is that they continue the behavior even when they experience significant consequences as a result.
For example, someone who latches onto exercise may begin to neglect their friends and family, causing tremendous personal strife. However, they continue to compulsively exercise anyway.
Signs of an Addictive Personality
The behaviors associated with an addictive personality are not the only determinant as to whether someone actually has behavioral issues. Instead, it’s the surrounding personal and social consequences that define an addictive personality. These signs may include symptoms like:
- Spending inordinate amounts of time on a certain behavior
- Thinking about the problem behavior even when they’re not acting out the behavior
- Continuing the addictive behavior despite personal, social, or occupational consequences
- Their addictive behavior interferes with their work, school, or home life
- Always needing something to hyperfocus on
- Having poor impulse control
If you recognize these signs in yourself or a loved one, targeted mental health treatment may help. Having an addictive personality may make it challenging to overcome addiction, but it is possible through dedicated effort and treatment.
Treatment for Those with Addictive Personalities
Substance use disorder treatment for a person with an addictive personality depends largely upon the individual. In some cases, an addictive personality is a side effect of a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. In others, an addictive personality is simply a matter of lacking effective coping skills and self-regulation strategies.
As such, the first step for the treatment of an addictive personality is meeting with a licensed mental health specialist for a detailed assessment. This step can help the professional identify whether a person with an addictive personality has a co-occurring disorder, understand the nature and severity of their addictive behaviors, and lay the groundwork for the treatment methods that would be best used to help guide them toward recovery.
Therapies for People with Addictive Personalities
The next step for most people with an addictive personality is to begin mental health therapy of some form. Using evidence-based therapeutic techniques, licensed therapists can unravel the root cause of the addictive behavior, teach targeted skills to help people resist the temptation to return to addictive behaviors in the future, and show their clients how to live a better and healthier life free from addiction.
Multiple forms of therapy can accomplish this task. Some of the most popular and effective strategies include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of individual therapy that focuses on helping people change the way they think. This form of therapy can help alter behavior and moods — creating a cascade of positive changes throughout your life.
CBT uses several specific techniques to accomplish this task. Working with a CBT therapist can teach you how to identify thoughts that lead to destructive or addictive behaviors, challenge those thoughts, and replace them with thoughts that are better suited to your recovery goals.
CBT has a long history of effectively helping people overcome all manner of mental health concerns, including:
- Substance use disorders
- Bipolar disorder
And indeed, CBT can help people manage the behaviors associated with addictive personalities as well.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is based on the same foundational principles of CBT, but it incorporates several new elements that make this style of therapy more appealing to many people. Specifically, DBT incorporates elements of mindfulness and acceptance into the therapy process, recognizing that sometimes, thoughts cannot be changed.
Yet by learning to mindfully accept these thoughts rather than letting them guide you into addictive behaviors, you may find that you are better able to resist the pull of an addictive personality.
DBT has proven itself to be effective for a variety of mental health disorders and is one of the leading evidence-based therapies in the mental health treatment space today.
Group therapy brings together several people with a common problem. During therapy, they share strategies and offer emotional support to one another. While group therapy originated as a simple way to get more people involved in therapy, group therapists quickly discovered that the power and effectiveness of it were often much greater than they could produce in individual therapy.
Group therapy has been used in the treatment of addiction for decades, making it an obvious choice for many people struggling with addictive personalities.
Not only can group therapy help minimize your addictive behaviors, but it can also foster support and friendships that can help you through tough times. This support in recovery is often the most impactful and essential component of a recovery that lasts.
Start Treatment at Silver Sands Recovery
If you think you may have an addictive personality and it’s starting to cause problems in your everyday life, reach out to the team at Silver Sands Recovery by calling or filling out our confidential online contact form. Our admissions team can guide you toward the style of treatment and therapy that will best help you overcome your mental health challenges and start you on the path to a lifetime of recovery.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.