Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Addictive Personalities and Prescription Drug Addiction Development

Addictive Personalities and Prescription Drug Addiction DevelopmentThe term “addictive personality” refers to a set of traits that make an individual vulnerable to self-destructive, compulsive behaviors. There is no single set of psychological characteristics that define all addicts, but individuals who struggle with addiction often have qualities that include the following:

  • Impulsive behavior
  • Difficulty delaying gratification
  • Antisocial personality
  • Disposition toward attention seeking
  • High value placed on nonconformity combined with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement valued by society
  • Social alienation
  • Tolerance for deviance
  • Sense of heightened stress

Behavioral scientists also identify personality features and background experiences that people with addictive personalities often share. They include the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Sharply conflicting parental expectations

People with addictive personalities may turn to drug use to cope with stress. They may also struggle with substance abuse because they are highly sensitive to social dynamics and expectations. This makes them strive to win peer approval even when illicit drug use is involved. Another reason these individuals succumb to addiction is that they use drugs to numb emotional pain created by their impulsive personalities.

Prescription Drug Addiction Development

People with addictive personalities get lured into prescription drug use by their need for immediate gratification, an escape from reality and a sense of control. Stages of addiction include the following:

  • Experimentation without any serious negative consequences
  • Misuse of drugs that leads to negative consequences, such as driving under the influence or behaving poorly in public
  • Abuse of drugs despite negative legal, social and emotional consequences
  • Drug addiction and dependency that compels the individual to continue using drugs despite a desire to stop

Prescription drug addiction can develop over a long period of time or quite quickly. Symptoms of physical dependence depend on which medication an individual abuses. Signs of psychological dependence include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Continued use despite negative consequences
  • Preoccupation with finding and using drugs
  • Depression or anxiety when not able to take drugs
  • Loss of motivation
  • Inability to handle typical pressures
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed

Recovery from prescription drug abuse often includes the following treatment approaches:

  • Counseling to identify emotional and mental issues behind the addiction
  • Ongoing therapy to boost stress management skills and prevent relapse
  • Family therapy for affected loved ones
  • Attendance at 12-step support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Overcoming addiction is not easy, but it is possible with the right professional help.

Recovery from Prescription Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love struggles with prescription drug abuse, you are not alone. Recovery counselors are available 24 hours a day at our toll-free support line. We can answer your questions and guide you to recovery. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call to start your recovery today.

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