There is being passionate and excited about something… and then there is being addicted to it. While we most commonly recognize addiction as consuming a substance, there are many other things that kids, teens, and adults can become addicted to. We’ve pinpointed a few traits that could mean you or a loved one has an addictive personality.
Addictive Traits in Kids
They focus on four risky traits: sensation-seeking, impulsiveness, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness. Importantly, most at-risk kids can be spotted early and their actions often look different but reflect these traits.
- Impulsive behavior, difficulty in delaying gratification, an antisocial personality, and a disposition toward sensation seeking.
- A high value on nonconformity combined with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement valued by the society.
- A sense of social alienation and a general tolerance for deviance.
- A sense of heightened stress. This may help explain why adolescence and other stressful transition periods are often associated with the most severe drug and alcohol problems.
Okay, so you recognize the traits… now what?
Teach mindfulness. Being mindful means being present and teaching the difference between urges and being in the moment. Being mindful can also mean acknowledging our habits and putting systems in place for success.
Share your imperfections. share your faults, freely and openly, and share the actions you take to become stronger.
Allow your child to fail. Knowing how to manage risk through experience is real, hard-earned competence, and it makes the kids feel great about themselves.
Celebrate small wins and remain positive. Instead of focusing on the mistakes that kids will make along the way, focus on celebrating all the successes no matter how small
Addictive Traits in Teens
There are a few things you can look for and it is important to remember that these traits don’t guarantee an addiction later in life. They are simply warning signs that your teen might be susceptible to adopting addictive behaviors later in life. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for…
- A lack of impulse control and problems with delayed gratification
- Antisocial personality and a sense of being a social outcast
- Willful nonconformity and a tendency toward social deviance
- A lack of concrete goals
- A sense of heightened stress, and difficulties coping with it
Notice any of those actions or personality traits in your teen? Here are a few things to consider:
Behavioral therapies that aim to develop self-regulation and treat mental illnesses may help manage addictive personalities, especially in teens.
Sharing your own struggles and experiences with peer pressure, temptations, and addiction will help you connect and relate.
Addictive Traits in Adults
Identifying these traits early on in life can allow you to take preventive measures for your loved one. It also allows you the opportunity to set your loved one up for success in the future. But, what happens when you start to see unhealthy substance abuse problems in a loved one that’s a bit older? Here are a few things to consider:
- Is there a history of addiction in the family?
- Is there a struggle with mental health?
- Is there a constant thrill-seeking, risk-taking characteristic?
- Is there a disconnect or extreme caution?
- Is there a compulsive trait or being unable to self-regulate?
When looking to help out your loved one, it’s good to know that various forms of behavioral therapies can help individuals struggling with these issues. Therapy can help individuals learn to manage their behaviors and acquire self-regulation skills that can moderate the addictive response. In addition, for those who have already developed substance use problems, treatment programs can incorporate these therapies with other demonstrated treatments.
Find Help for Addiction
For substance abuse or mental health help, call Healthy Life Recovery at (855) 982-2757
Is your loved one struggling with substance abuse but doesn’t want help? Read our article on How to Help the Addict that Doesn’t want Help.