The Addictive Personality
Do you have an addictive personality? The other day I was talking with another therapist in my office. He typically does educational and therapeutic groups for anger management and substance abuse. I generally work with sexual addiction. After comparing notes and the common language that we were both hearing from our clients and groups, I realized the importance of addressing the issue of “An Addictive Personality.”
It is very common for clients to have more than one addiction. My clients aren’t just dealing with a sexual addiction. They are dealing with intense feelings of wanting to feel good. They may be coming to see me because their sexual behavior is out of control, but what is becoming more and more common is that they are out of control in many other areas of their life.
Dr. Patrick Carnes, one of the leading researchers and presenters on sexual addiction, found that over 80% of sex addicts also have addictions to other things (i.e. drugs, alcohol, spending money, gambling, etc.). This suggests that many sex addicts use multiple things to maintain their “high”.
Here is a short list of some of the other addictive behaviors that I am seeing:
- Eating (often binge eating)
- Spending Money
- Anger (yes, some of them are addicted to anger)
Sadly, individuals who are struggling with an addictive personality do not realize this until they are addicted to the high that they get from the behavior. By the time they feel the necessity for change, they may be addicted to multiple substances or behaviors.
Not all people have addictions to multiple substances or behaviors, but those who do seldom find satisfaction in life until they have quenched their thirst for a high.
Understanding The Addictive Personality
In order to assess the addictive personality, I have generated a few questions that help identify this problem. Here are a few questions to help you assess whether you have an addictive personality:
- When I am feeling down I often do one of the following behaviors (view pornography, find sex, drink alcohol, use drugs, eat excessively, get angry).
- I cannot go more than a few hours without some type of excitement in my life. I am always looking for something exciting to do.
- My mind is always racing and thinking of what I can do to get the next high.
- I cannot sit and do nothing. The only time I feel calm is when I am engaged in the addictive behavior.
- When I do view pornography, act out sexually, drink alcohol, use drugs, I never do it half way. In other words, if I look at pornography I look at it for hours. If it is alcohol I get drunk. If it is drugs I can be high for days at a time.
If you answered True to more of these questions than you answered False, there is a good chance that you have an addictive personality.
If you have an addictive personality, there are many things you can do to get started for recovery. You will need help. The process of changing an addictive personality is not easy, but it can happen. This is a battle that can be won alone, but it will take time, effort, and a belief that you can change. I have included a link to a page that offers a few resources that you may find helpful.