Addiction is a serious disease affects millions of people around the world, and the number of substances and activities that people can get addicted to is constantly on the rise. It is not all bad news however. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated professionals, new ways to treat addiction are being discovered every day. But as the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. For those of us with a higher risk of addiction, it is better to identify it now and so we know to be extra careful in the future. Here are some traits to look out for:
Is someone in your family an addict?
Medical professionals have known for some time now that addiction is a hereditary trait, meaning it can exist within a family and be passed from parent to child. Do either of your parent’s drink a little too often? Are your cousins well known for gambling? A member of a family with a gambling addiction has been known to significantly increase the risk of you eventually developing one. It must be noted that while it is often a contributing factor, it is rarely the only one. Addiction is not an inevitability and so you can take steps to avoid it.
Do you regularly crave excitement?
Wanting to have fun is not in itself a bad thing, everyone seeks excitement from time to time. However, if you find yourself constantly seeking the next fun thing, often while putting yourself at risk, it might mean that you have an addictive personality. Examining yourself for this attribute is possible by answering these three questions:
- Do you constantly feel a rush when faced with uncertainty?
- Do you frequently find yourself bored by activities that do not put you at any form of risk?
- Are people around you always talking about how you are ‘brave’ or ‘exciting’, and does it seem to be your defining character trait?
Do you have a history of impulsive behavior?
People with this personality trait are prone to acting or reacting without first considering their situations. They tend to not overly think of the consequences of their actions on themselves and others, and are often getting into trouble as a result. This behavior has been linked with addiction, with addicts being noticed to make more snap decisions than non addicts. This type of behavior is very difficult to shake by yourself, it might be best to surround yourself with people that are more levelheaded, who are able to inform you when you’re going down the wrong path.
Do you often feel bad about yourself?
People who often suffer from bouts of depression have a much higher risk of falling into an addiction than normal people. Depression is often a result of lack of self-worth or low self-esteem, and addictive substances and habits is often seen by those affected as a way to escape. This is increasingly common in teenagers who are transitioning and are still yet to find their places in the world. Everyone defines their own self-worth, identify the things that make you doubt yourself and find a way to either avoid or overcome them.
Do you feel isolated and alone?
Humans by nature crave regular social contact, we want to connect with others and have people around us to share company with. Sadly, many people find themselves unable to accomplish this. There are many reasons people end up isolated. This includes low self-esteem, feeling misunderstood, grief, and others. Prolonged isolation will often move people to seek out other places or things, where they are able to bury the feelings of loneliness. If this applies to you, then you should make greater efforts to reach out to people, your family and friends. If you find this too difficult, then it might be time to seek professional help.
Do you regularly feel anxious and stressed?
These feelings manifest as fear, fatigue, emotional distress, and sadness. People are faced with stressful situations on a daily basis; whether it’s work, your relationships, finances, or you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. People with addictive personalities tend to face this more often. They are more easily stressed out than normal people and will find themselves under duress in more circumstances. When people suffering from anxiety are introduced to drugs, they take it up faster and in greater quantities. Everyone needs to find a way to destress, it is best to find one that is least likely to damage your body, career, or relationships. Take time out to regularly relax and start a simple hobby to get your mind off stressful things.
Do you find it hard to quit?
One of the lessons adults learn as they grow older is that sometimes it is best to simply let something go. However, many people have difficulties doing this. It might be a job, relationship, habit, or idea, but once they set their minds to it, they have a hard time moving on to something else. This difficulty will often surface when dealing with a new object, and often leads to an addiction. If you identify with this, it is best to avoid substances that are known to lead to addiction. For you, experimentation has a much higher chance to lead to addiction.
Do you have a difficulty with commitment?
At some point in their lives each person finds themselves needing to dedicate time and effort to achieving a goal. This will usually be marked by difficulty and struggle, but it is often rewarding in the end. This is not the case for those with an addictive personality, who find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for too long. They easily get bored and will constantly ignore long term commitments for the sake of instant gratification.