The Addictive Personality Part Two

Much has been written about genetic predisposition and its relationship to addictive personalities. Having an addict in the family does not guarantee that everyone in the family will become addicts. But many believe that hereditary factors can raise a person’s level of vulnerability to substance abuse or other addictions. That may explain why some gamble in moderation and others compulsively-why some can drink for enjoyment and others become alcoholics.

It does seem as if those with the genetic predisposition will engage in some type of excessive behavior but will not necessary choose the same stimuli they have been exposed to. Adult children of alcoholics may never drink but they may become addicted to gambling. Children of drug addicts may exercise excessively or be workaholics.

There is no single gene that determines a person’s susceptibility to addiction. Studies comparing identical and fraternal twins estimate that genetic factors account for 40 to 60 percent of the occurrence of the gene variation.

Researchers have discovered a number of genes that link to addiction through DNA testing. One gene causes dizziness and nausea from smoking and is more present in non-smokers than smokers. Alcoholism is rare in those who have two copies of the ALDH2 gene. Other genes have been linked to narcotic dependency.

Variants in certain genes have been shown to suppress dopamine signals in the brain. Those with these blunted receptors have the need to seek higher levels of stimulation to reach the same level of pleasure as those who don’t have the variants. DNA testing can offer vital clues in battling addiction but the use of it is very controversial. The concern is that some may use this information for discrimination purposes.

It comes down to the nature versus nurture argument. Environment and upbringing are believed to be equally important in shaping the personality. Our life circumstances and emotional experiences may have more influence than our genetic make-up does. Under this theory no matter our chemical make-up, we still have the ability to choose and control our actions.

There are factors that may indicate a higher risk of developing a serious addiction. People who have difficulty thinking about the long term consequences of their actions are more susceptible to developing an addiction. So are those who do everything in excess and/or to extremes, and those who habitually substitute one compulsion for another. For example, stressed out workaholics may come home at the end of the day and start drinking to help them relax. They may use cybersex because they don’t have time for real relationships. They may stress-eat.

Those with addictive personalities are most vulnerable during periods of heightened stress such as adolescence and times of transition. People who suffer from mental illnesses, emotional disorders, and personality disorders are highly prone to addiction as well. Without being aware that they have a condition, they may self-medicate to manage emotions using substances or behaviors to relieve whatever discomfort they may feel.

Nonconformists, non-achievers, and those with deviant personalities are also prime candidates for addiction. Many adult addicts report having been subjected to deprivation or overindulgence in their childhoods. Others report that they were negatively impacted by their parents’ constant, unpredictable fluctuation between over-praise and over-criticism.

Addictions are unmanageable, excessive, and repetitive. The addiction activity begins harmlessly with a pleasurable experience, but over time more and more of the activity is needed to achieve the same effect. People become dependent on the high they get and find it difficult to stop the behavior. If deprived of their fix they will find a substitute. If forced to stop the behavior they will suffer physical or psychological symptoms of withdrawal that compel them to resume the addiction. Over time they lose the ability to cope with life without the addictive stimuli.

People with addictions will deny that what they’re doing is detrimentally affecting them while work, family, and social relationships suffer and their health declines. Their desperation often lead them to take extremes in getting the fix, which ultimately creates financial and legal issues.

Addictions can be classified as hard or soft. Hard addictions, also known as substance addiction, are categorized by the rapid affect they have on many aspects of the person’s behavior as well as the effect they have on everyone around him or her. Abuse of alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics are usually the source of this type of addiction. This is different than substance abusers who use from time to time. Substance addicts spend every waking moment finding ways to buy and use drugs or alcohol.

With soft addictions the abuser uses activities that are harmless to most people. The consequences of those behaviors are not immediately felt. Cigarette smoking and coffee drinking are two commonly known examples of soft addictions. It is much easier to hide soft addictions and cover up the behaviors that result from them. But soft-addictions have the propensity to lead to more serious addictions down the road.

Gambling is another common example of a soft addiction. Gamblers with addictive personalities go through three stages. In the first phase, also known as the winning phase, the person has control over his or her behavior. The second stage is known as the losing phase. In this phase the person begins gambling alone, gambling large sums of money, and borrowing cash to pay off mounting debt. The third phase is called the desperation phase. In this phase the gambler engages in more risky, sometimes illegal behavior. In desperation he or she may borrow money from non conventional sources. Depression and attempted suicide are common in the third phase of gambling.

Other examples of soft addictions are eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive over-eating. Though there are other factors that contribute to this type of behavior, it can develop into pathological behavior that is very similar to addiction. The anorexic fixates on the goal of losing weight. Once the person begins dieting he or she finds it very hard to stop. Those with bulimia are after the same goal as those who are anorexic, but the mode of operation is different. Instead of limiting their diet they binge on large amounts of food and then purge it before their bodies have the chance to digest it. Compulsive eaters are not concerned with weight loss or weight gain, though the disorder often results in obesity. They have a compulsive urge to eat, whether hungry or not.

Something as beneficial as exercising can become a preoccupation or addiction to those who are predisposed to having one. Running is the most prevalent; runners are known to get a runner’s high and can become dependent on it. This is attributed to mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins that are released during exercise. An addiction occurs when the exercise activity is used as an escape or a coping mechanism. It’s a problem when it becomes so excessive that the body suffers injury, and when it negatively impacts relationships.

Compulsive buying falls under the category of soft addictions. Those who do it are addicted to the buzz it gives them. It has nothing to do with what they are buying, it is simply their drug. They buy only for the sake of buying without ever intending to use it. Those with this disorder often suffer from other disorders such as depression, mood swings, and anxiety. Buying gives them temporary relief, but after they do it they feel heightened anxiety and intense guilt. One study showed that twenty percent of compulsive buyers suffer from an eating disorder as well.

The two newest additions to the soft-addiction category are Internet abuse and cell phone abuse. They are more prevalent in younger generations, though there is a significant number of older people who develop these addictions as well.

Those who have an Internet addiction, also known as pathological Internet use, find they cannot control their usage of it. They may be drawn to online games, social networking sites, or other online sites, and will spend an excessive amount of time there. The use becomes an addiction when withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes are suffered when they are away from it.

Some people become addicted to cyber relationships. A problem occurs when these relationships are used to avoid face to face, interpersonal interactions. This addiction can lead to social, psychological, and work or school problems.

A recent study shows that those who are addicted to cell phone use display behaviors very similar to those with addictive personalities-low self-esteem, approval seeking, insecurity. Cell phones have become indispensable in our lives, but they can reinforce the tendency of over-attachment for those with addictive personalities.

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Overcoming Addiction – Addiction + Denial = Out of Control

My addiction used to control me. It overwhelmed the person inside of me, and I became a stranger to my family, and to myself. All I cared about was having another drink. All I thought about was where and when I was going to get my next drink. My mind was totally and completely absorbed within my addiction, and I didn’t even know it. I was proud, haughty and selfish. I was an alcoholic.

Do you have an addiction? Some of us overeat, over drink, smoke, look at porn, gamble, do drugs, or become abusive. We can even be addicted to our feelings. When we let our negative thoughts control us to do wrong, we are under the power of our thoughts and feelings. Addiction controls several aspects of our character that keep us from coming to our full potential. I know these things first hand; I have been there and done that.

Mentally the addiction affects the way we think and feel, and how we live our life. The addiction will literally stunt the growth process, and the addict will remain childish, selfish and insensitive to the needs of others. Psychologically the addict remains in denial, and will do just about anything to justify bad behavior to others while under the control of their addiction. Addicts are basically selfish people who only care about themselves even though they are real good at manipulating others into believing otherwise.

Emotionally the addiction makes the addict become overly defensive to anyone who tries to take away what he or she so desires. Addicts have a difficult time suppressing their negative emotions and are immature and childish. If they become too dependent on the addiction, they will justify reasons of why they think they are better people when abusing their substance of choice. Their low self-esteem keeps them very sensitive to how others feel about them. They are prone to finding faults in others to get any attention off of them.

Spiritually the addict is at a loss. He is desensitized to the spiritual self within him. The addiction keeps the addict from becoming the whole and complete person that God intended him to be. True potential is stunted. The addict does and says things that he normally wouldn’t if he were living his life without the neediness of addiction. The addict is missing out on so much in his life that he “wants and needs” too much, making him unable to give of himself.

In the days of my disease, I reveled in my negative feelings, denying my weakness and sins. My feelings literally fed my constant unhappiness. If I accepted the fact that God was my source for REAL happiness, I would have to admit my failings, something that a spiritually bankrupt person is unable to do. In essence, the addict desperately needs to have trust enough in God first to quit their addiction and then begin to grow out from the selfish aspect of their rebellious personality.

Alcohol and drug addiction affects the whole family. Family members are affected in different ways, especially the person who loves the addict and enables the addiction. This person is called the enabler because they sweep things under the rug, so to speak, pretending there isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, the enabler usually gets the brunt of the abuse from the addict because the addict expects so much from them. If the enabler doesn’t come through with the addict’s neediness and constant requests for things, the enabler had better watch out! The enabler is just as sick mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as the abuser. They both need help.

The enabler is the rescuer of the addicted person. As long as the problem is continually swept under the carpet by the enabler, the addiction will continue to progress further because no one believes there is a problem! Denying the problem exists runs rampant in homes where addiction is fed. The longer the addict continues to use, the worse it will be for everyone involved.

What happens to the person who is controlled by addiction? Many things take place, but some of the things that control the addict are not always apparent to anyone else. Usually what we notice first in the addict is the emotional imbalance of the mental and spiritual capacity, and the decline of health. But what isn’t apparent about addiction is actually the most important element of who a person really is. And that is the lack of spiritual realism in the addicted person. He or she through their addiction denies the spiritual Christ to intervene within the framework of who they are. As long as the addicted person remains unspiritual they will remain a slave to their addiction. Unfortunately, it usually takes something very drastic and horrific to happen to the addict before they actually give up their addiction and ask God for forgiveness and help. This is called the “end of the addicts ropes”, or “bottom out effect.”

On the outside some addicts look like everyone else. They go to church, acknowledge God, raise families and have careers. But through all of this, they still lack the spiritual maturity and godly wisdom to realize the impact, and the consequences of their addiction. These things aren’t ‘t important to the addict. For the addict just being able to continue on with their lives without anyone realizing they have a problem gives the addict more justification and credibility for remaining in their addiction. They themselves remain in denial, talking them selves out of having a problem. They must bottom out! The setback with that is, the enabler keeps rescuing the addict’s behavior and so they never bottom out!

The addict one way or another must come to grips with his REAL source of who he is and with the potential of his existence. But if the addict is in denial, this is going to be difficult for him to do. The addict is usually a selfish and arrogant individual who hasn’t come to grips with who he or she is and so how can they know, understand, accept, and believe in their creator for guidance?

Enablers can do something to help the addict, but they’re afraid that it will somehow change the addict, or that the addict won’t love them anymore. In essence, the enabler needs to get help first, so he can then help the addict.
The three main reasons the enabler keeps saving the addict is below. The three main reasons the addict can’t stop using are below.

(1)Fear = panic, trepidation, apprehension, terror, afraid of the unknown, etc
(2)Denial = mentally refuse to believe, and emotionally refute, disclaimer,
(3)Spiritual loss = proud, haughty, unbeliever, rebellious, arrogant, self-righteous,

The addiction takes hold of the mind with such force the addict is afraid to even think of living without the addiction. Addicts try to stop, but their bodies and mind tell them they can’t. They are filled with fear and terror at the thought of not getting their next fix, afraid they will not be able to cope in life, but this just isn’t so!

At first abstaining from an addiction that has controlled the mind, body, and soul for so long does make us feel insecure and self doubting, but the addict can endure and overcome those fears through the help of God. But first before any of this will have any real impact on the addict he must WANT TO QUIT THE ADDICTION!!

By trusting in what God says is true, you can believe in the power of Gods words to help guide you away from your fears and into God’s truth and love. God’s words are the addicts comfort and refuge. Gods breath-filled words, and spiritual presence over-powers evil and reveals the truth in the addict. The evil is the addiction, and God’s loving kindness is stronger and more powerful than any addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous teaches to believe in a higher power because addicts are powerless to change on their own. This statement is very true. Why do you think addicts quit for a while only to go back to it again? They thought they had enough strength and will power to quit on their own.

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
2 Timothy 3:15-16

When the addict feels scared, fearful, and insecure, or just plain weird in their body, they need to go to the scriptures. If they are tempted to go back to the addiction, they need to go to the scriptures, and ask for the Spirit of Jesus Christ to intervene for them in their temptation. They must trust in God with all their heart, mind and soul, and He WILL deliver them from the evils of addiction!

I know that God delivers people away from their addictions and sins, it happened to me! I prayed to God with all my heart and mind to guide me out of my addiction to alcohol. I also prayed that the craving for alcohol be taken from me for good. I have been sober for over twelve-years now, and I have not ONCE craved the desire to drink. As a matter of fact, when I see others abusing alcohol I feel so unpleasant inside, and deep sorrow for them because I know exactly how they are feeling, and what they are going through. It’s not good.

The addict has got to really want to stop his addiction before God will intervene. God wants to know that you are for Him and not against Him. When we abuse our minds day in and day out, we have no spiritual awareness to even acknowledge the existence of Him who created us! God wants you to acknowledge Him, and ask Him to help you overcome your addiction.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Addicts are powerless without God! The Spirit of Christ is the stronghold to your future. It is the foundation for your life! Do you want to stop beating yourself up? Humble down your proud and arrogant ways. Let go of the old sinful selfish person to God. Let go of those heavy burdens. Believe in yourself and know what a better person you can become serving God without the weight of addiction upon your shoulders!

Come to Jesus Christ! “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

“For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Jesus Christ is the power that overcomes all things that hold us in bondage. The foundation of truth, wisdom, and love is our stronghold! Take a hold of it now and let addiction go for good!

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