Impulsive individuals act without thinking. If the idea seems good at the moment, they are usually the first ones ready to experience it, rather than taking a moment to weigh the risks and potential negative consequences that could be involved. Individuals with low levels of impulse control tend to like immediate gratification, making it tempting to frequently use drugs or alcohol.
Unable to Cope with Stress
Having difficulty dealing with stress in everyday life is a very common personality trait among people with addictive behavior. Life will always have elements that are outside of our control and uncomfortable situations that we need to address. But some people have a difficult time processing their feelings around these events and lack the tools necessary for coping in a healthy way. They end up turning to drugs or alcohol as a way of “dealing” with life’s stressors. This toxic cycle can lead to addiction.
Low self-esteem is when someone believes they are not worthy of happiness, respect, and love. A person might have low self-esteem due to a traumatic event they experienced or from childhood. People who have a negative view of themselves might be more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of increasing their confidence or numbing themselves from any uncomfortable thoughts or emotions.
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Anxiety is the feeling of persistent worry. While some levels of anxiety are normal, such as before taking a test or interviewing for a job, anxiety that is experienced on a day-to-day basis is a mental health condition. Many indivdiuals with drug addiction tend to also have anxiety disorders and therefore, cope with their constant feelings of worry and “negative feelings” through drinking or drug use. However, once someone learns healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety, they often find they don’t need to turn to drugs for help.
Risk Factors for Substance Use Disorder
Not every person with drug or alcohol addiction will have the addictive personality traits that are mentioned above. But there are a few key factors that can increase someone’s risk of developing those personality traits or drug addiction/alcohol addiction. These include:
- Environmental factors such as a stressful living situation or unhealthy work environment
- Mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, and others
- Genetics, including having family members with drug or alcohol addiction
- Peer pressure from friends, family, or community
- Taking very addictive drugs, including prescription drugs
- Using drugs at an early age (including as young adults)
Having the right emotional tools in place plays a significant role in empowering individuals to overcome addiction – that’s where an addiction treatment facility can help. Outpatient Addiction Treatment, Partial Hospitalization, and an Intensive Outpatient Program are all effective at treating addiction.
Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
There are a few signs and behaviors typically associated with individuals who are abusing drugs or alcohol, including:
- Difficulty quitting drugs and alcohol, even for a short period of time
- Missing work
- Avoiding daily responsibilities
- Experiencing intense cravings for the drug
- Obsessing over drugs and alcohol
- Lack of hobbies
- Extreme mood swings
- Withdrawal symptoms when not using drugs or alcohol
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