Addiction affects many people, but addictive personality disorder may exacerbate the problem, especially for teens and young women. Although many substances are physically addicting, those who suffer from addictive personality disorder may become addicted to literally anything, including substances, behaviors and even beliefs. Statistics indicate that as many as 10-15 percent of the population may suffer from this affliction. Below are some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of an addictive personality.
People with this personality disorder act on their impulses even when they realize that it is unwise (or even dangerous) to do so. This aspect of the disorder makes quitting a substance like alcohol or drugs challenging. People with impulsive behavior tend to see actions as “all or nothing” and often feel powerless when attempting to stop a behavior.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Even a mild bout of social anxiety disorder may be enough to trigger an addiction. When social situations create distress for adults, they may simply avoid the situation. For teenage girls, however, social activities are a large part of life. Insecure feelings and the fear of failure may push her to drink or take drugs to overcome fear. This can, in turn, create a cycle of addiction that becomes difficult to break.
Individuals suffering from addictive personality disorder often switch from one addiction to another when prompted to give up an unhealthy behavior. For example, when an addict gives up cigarettes, he or she may turn to habitual eating instead. For a teen, an Internet addiction might turn into an obsession with gaming instead.
The Need for Instant Gratification
Those with an addictive personality often have trouble finding pleasure in things that take time to achieve. Faulty impulse control creates the perception that delayed gratification is intolerable, and allows them to disregard possible consequences. In fact, one of the major tenets of rehab is learning to delay gratification, otherwise relapse is inevitable.
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand with this disorder. Sufferers often feel alone and like they may be drowning under the pressures of school or family. Drugs and alcohol are often used as coping mechanisms and as a way to self-medicate or numb these feelings.
An addictive personality isn’t limited to substance abuse. Young women can become hooked on shopping, gaming, sex or even religion. And, even though these behaviors don’t result in physiological dependence, they can be just as indicative of a personality disorder. If you are concerned your teen may suffer from a personality disorder or other mental health challenge, contact Havenwood Academy today. The experienced professionals at Havenwood can help you and your family understand and confront a variety of challenges common in girls and young women, including an addictive personality.