Is There an Addictive Personality?

This country is suffering from the most widespread drug crisis in its history, with over 64,000 fatalities in 2016. This epidemic raises many questions. Among them: Is there such a thing as an addictive personality? Are there people who are more inclined to become addicted to alcohol or drugs?

The question is surprisingly controversial. First of all, there is no strict scientific definition of an addictive personality. The problem is that not every addicted person suffers from all or even most of the many common characteristics often cited. A recent article by Maia Szalavitz in Scientific American consolidated the many individual characteristics that have been put forth into two general and different categories that actually are opposite ends of the spectrum of the ability to self-regulate behavior.

  • Those who have problems restraining impulsive behavior and are prone to risk. (More males)
  • Those with a distinct anxious, obsessive-compulsive aspect to their behavior. (More females)

The idea here is that impulsiveness is the inability to control engagement in different behaviors, while obsessive-compulsive behavior involves difficulty in disengagement with certain behaviors. And a further idea put forth is that different combinations appear, exhibiting these aspects of the self-regulation spectrum to varying degrees.

This analysis leads credence to the conclusion that there may not be one specific type of addictive personality at all. Rather, each individual is different, and there is no one cookie-cutter method to treat and curie addiction. Can addictive behavior be halted? It can be, though the process is not always simple or easy. Drugs such as Suboxone have been found to be a very effective treatment for detoxing from heroin or other opiate addictions. But the process must be accompanied by careful supervision and behavioral therapy.

South Florida Detox Center first makes a careful assessment of each individual case. Then, with a combination of personal therapy and the drug Suboxone to ease the initial withdrawal symptoms, we help free the patient from dependency. Suboxone was approved in 2003 to treat opiate addiction and is used under close supervision for the first 24 to 48 hours of detoxing from heroin or other opiates. After the initial withdrawal, we continue with careful assessment and treatment, depending upon the patient’s particular needs. The question of what exactly constitutes an addictive personality is interesting and provokes thought. But in the long run, the more important question may be: Can we treat and cure this addiction? At South Florida Detox Center we help make the answer to that question a resounding “Yes.”




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