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Does Your Personality Put You at Risk for Addiction?

Are certain personality types more prone to substance abuse? Although it certainly seems so, this question has been the focus of debate for some time. It used to be believed that addiction could be explained by way of the two contrasting personality types: Type A and Type B.

Type A personalities are often:

  • Competitive
  • Outgoing
  • Ambitious
  • Impatient and/or Aggressive

Type B personalities are usually described as:

  • Relaxed
  • Easygoing
  • Creative

Out With the Old

While some older studies show that Type B’s are more impulsive and have a stronger family history of alcohol abuse, Type A’s are more prone to becoming overwhelmed by stress and more likely to use substances as a way to cope. In addition, it’s believed that, while Type B’s get bored easily and chase the rush of stimulants, Type A’s leaned towards addiction, thanks to an inability to live up to their own unrealistic expectations.

These tests have conflicting results, and many other studies show there’s no difference in the risk of addiction between the two personality types at all. Researchers are searching for a more accurate representation of traits, meaning that simply classifying a person as either an introvert or extrovert isn’t enough.

In With the New

New studies examining more specific traits within the broad A and B types have discovered an emerging connection between personality and substance abuse. According to recent information, people who tested high on neuroticism (indicating that they tend to be impulsive and emotionally unstable), low on conscientiousness (tending to be unambitious and lazy), and low on agreeableness (indicating them to be uncooperative and unhelpful), were found to be more likely to have problems with alcohol or drugs than those who scored lower on the scale. Interestingly enough, higher scores for each of these traits were linked to higher likelihood of using “hard” drugs like heroin, amphetamines or crack.

But don’t worry; you aren’t automatically doomed just because you have these certain traits; personality isn’t the only factor that pushes people towards substance abuse. Experts say your environment, circle of friends and genetic makeup all play a role in whether you’ll develop chemical dependency issues down the road.

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