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Question
Posted by: Belinda | 2004/10/08

Addictive personality?

Hi there, CS!
Just wanted to know what you think about so-called "addictive personalities", i.e. do they exist, (or is it "psycho-babble"?) and if they do, how prevalant it is. And how to know if one has one.
Would one do everything in the extremes, for example?
thanx!

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Our expert says:
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Hi Belinda,
YOu're right thatb there's an awful lot of "psychbabble about ! An "addictive personality" is not recognized scientifically or by competent experts, at present. yes, some people are more at risk of becoming addicted to or to abuse substances, than others. Children of alcoholics might inherit some regree of risk, for instance. People who have abused one substance may find it easier to become addicted to anoher, especially to one that is chemically similar. The idea of an "addictive personality" able to get addicted to almost anything, including some of the bad habits that get falsely labelled as "addictions" , like Shopping.
Chemical addictions / substance abuse, have physical as well as psychological components, so that treatment needs to take both aspects into account. It isnt useful to pump them together with bad habits, like excessive shopping or gambling, which respond better to psychological and behaviour therapy.

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