• 5 Personality Traits of an Alcohol and Drug Abuser
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    5 Personality Traits of an Alcohol and Drug Abuser

    People who drink alcohol socially or experiment with recreational drugs do so because it gives them pleasure. Drug and alcohol abusers also experience this pleasure, but at some point, the impulse control center of their brain kicks in. They go beyond “pleasure” and plunge right into excessive use. Relationships and other things that were once meaningful are suddenly in the rearview.

    Of course, not everyone has addictive tendencies. Those who do become addicts, however, share a number of personality traits. Here are 5 common characteristics you may find in people with drug and alcohol abuse disorder.

    1. They’re impulsive.

    This can be due to the broken impulse control center in the brain that medical science has recently discovered. Alcohol affects this center in heavy drinkers making abstinence difficult.

    2. They’re sensation seeking

    This trait can possibly be defined as the addict’s very low tolerance for boredom. It’s likely they’re unable to stay focused on one task and are constantly looking for an adrenaline rush or a new form of stimulation.

    3. They value non-conformity.

    Sometimes, people who disregard the values held by the majority of society consider substance abuse is not problem. The user may feel that they aren’t breaking any rules that they deem worthy. Overtime, addiction forms.

    4. Social Alienation

    People who share a certain lifestyle tend to get together and, in the case of substance abusers, they form their own subculture. Such a community would appear to be a positive in the addict’s life, but this is a group that is constantly chasing the substance. As a result, the substance becomes more meaningful than building strong, long-lasting communities.  The substance abuse subculture is far too fluid to act as a bonding agent, leaving every member essentially on their own with no consistent peer support.

    5. Compulsive behavior

    Compulsive behavior, when present with the four other traits observed to be common in substance abusers, can create the perfect environment for serious addiction. Given these factors, a substance abuser already feeling alienated from his surroundings, the people in it, and with no apparent hope for change, escapes into the only world in which he is comfortable—his inner self. He is his only friend. Very few people can live a healthy life with only themselves in their world.

    Rehab clinics stress that people with addictive personalities should be encouraged to find an activity they can excel in to build self-confidence and seek social support that involve helping people in some way, such as volunteering. After all, addict or not, introvert or extrovert, loner or joiner, we all require support from other humans. More modern therapies may also include therapeutic animals. Anything to prove to the afflicted ones that they are valued members of society.


    Tess Chedsey is a retired systems analyst, life-long alcoholic and native of Los Angeles, California. She now resides in a small town in Oregon where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean–a setting not unlike some of the more luxurious rehabilitation ”resorts.” She has been writing articles for over ten years for numerous websites on a wide variety of topics, including addiction. Besides writing, Tess has a passion for world travel and animals.


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