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Are Personality Disorders and Drug Addiction Correlated?


Recent research suggests that drug addiction could stem from personality disorders. According to the study, personality disorders make a person more vulnerable to drug addiction. Could this be truth?

The research revealed that 43-77 percent of individuals with personality disorders qualify for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder at some point in their lives. They examined the amount of patients who had personality disorders who also had a history of substance abuse and researchers found that 44 percent of people addicted to alcohol met the criteria for a personality disorder.

In addition, 77 percent of those who abuse opiates classified for a diagnosis of a personality disorder. Those addicted to opiates were found to have more cluster b personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

These results are not surprising. Many addiction facilities offer dual diagnosis treatment in which a client is diagnosed with substance abuse as well as a personality disorder like obsessive compulsive disorder.  We have all heard the term “addictive personality,” however contrary to popular belief; there is not one distinct personality that assumes that you will become a addict. There is, however, certain personality traits associated with drug abuse disorders. Some of these include

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Non-conformity
  • Impulsiveness
  • Emotional instability
  • Sensation-seeking and thrill-seeking
  • Poor external locus of control,
  • Low self-esteem

These personality traits tend to show in those who also have substance abuse disorders.  An individual’s personality must not clash with their social environment. People with personality disorders differ in their thoughts, behaviors, or interactions in ways that differs from others. This can negatively impact their lives in such a degree that leads them to want to escape their differences through using drugs and alcohol.

People with personality disorder may have trouble:

  • Socializing with others
  • Maintaining relationships
  • Functioning in stressful situations.

Overall, individuals with personality disorder have some amount of difficulty conforming to society. They often live with depression, anxiety, and/or substance abuse disorders. People with personality disorders may be more unlikely to change because they have trouble seeing the need to change at all. However, it is possible to treat addicts who suffer from personality disorders.

Where do personality disorders come from?

By this point, you may be wondering how personality disorders happen in the first place. That is a complicated question because they are a variety of reasons why someone could develop a personality disorder based on a variety of circumstances.

In essence, the root of personality disorders runs deep into the psyche. Personality disorders may arise from one of the following sources.

  • Genetic factors: Our genes play a huge role in our physical and mental health. Traits like fear, anxiety, or obsessive thinking often run in families which indicate that they may be stemmed from genetic makeup.
  • Psychological trauma: Past trauma definitely plays a role in our lives. Many people with personality disorders have had trauma in their childhood or have suffered some form of verbal abuse of physical abuse in their life. Lack of emotional validation at a young age is linked to certain personality disorders like borderline personality disorder. A history of childhood sexual abuse can be a huge reason for someone developing a personality disorder.
  • Stressful environments: Although stress may not directly cause personality disorder, they can aggravate symptoms of personality disorders and contribute to their development. This is truer if the stress occurs in childhoods. Traumas that place huge stress upon a person like a death, divorce, or bullying can lead to a personality disorder.

There are a variety of reasons that personality disorders can occur. Substance abuse may be a response to an existing personality disorder. Ask about seeing a professional to diagnose any personality disorder that you may have. Learning you have a personality disorder can be a freeing realization and can also help you recover from your addiction.If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

Author: Shernide Delva

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