Addiction affects people all over the world and in a variety of ways. Addictions range from drug and alcohol abuse all the way to eating disorders and dangerously over exercising. With such a great range of substances and activities that addicts are prone to abusing, could the underlying issue affecting all addicts be an addictive personality?
An addictive personality refers to a particular set of personality traits that make an individual predisposed to addictions. While most people can enjoy an occasional drink or an evening at a casino, someone with an addictive personality will take the same activities to dangerous extremes.
Causes of addiction
At their core, all addicts have the same inability to cease addictive behaviours despite their obvious negative consequences. Thus it is a common misconception that addiction is a form of moral failure and that addicts are weak and simply lack the will or discipline to abstain.
In reality those with an addictive personality suffer from underlying emotional issues which form the root cause of their addictive behaviour.
Those with an addictive personality often have difficulty processing and expressing their feelings in a healthy way. Inner conflicts often motivate addictive behaviour. Getting high helps addicts to avoid their feelings. This leads to addicts compulsively seeking drugs and other substances or experiences which will aid them in avoiding difficult emotions.
Addiction is more than simply a physical dependency and cannot simply be cured like many physical conditions. Successful treatment for those with an addictive personality requires treating the emotional problems that cause addictive behaviour and an understanding that addiction is a disease.
A holistic approach
A holistic approach to drug addiction treatment, incorporating a 12-Step programme and a focus on overall wellness, has been show to be an effective approach to overcoming an addictive personality and managing addictive behaviour over time. These methods are designed to help addicts to develop the skills needed to cope with their addiction on a daily basis.
The addict becomes able to make healthier life affirming choices that allow them to lead a more productive life and to process difficult emotions without the need to resort to drugs or other substances.
Treating addiction is an ongoing process that should be overseen by professionals. Addiction is a disease, and while quitting addictive behaviour is a crucial step on the road to recovery, successful treatment involves treating the root cause of the problem and teaching addicts healthier ways to cope with their problems.
Addiction counselling helps addicts to confront the psychological issues underlying their addiction and a trusted counsellor is a valuable partner in recovering from addiction. Those with addictive personalities need an outlet to express some of their personal doubts and concerns that have been a source of emotional stress.
Counselling also helps addicts to develop healthy routines and to gain better self-understanding – further enabling addicts to cope with difficult situations.
One-to-one and group counselling sessions can create a safe and supportive environment, and provide addicts with essential coping skills. But, it is still up to the addict to admit they have a problem and to make the effort to change.