Drug addiction & Personality: An extricable link

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Drugs and personality affect each other
Drug addiction & personality are intermingled

Dr. Nasir Uddin Ahmed

Drug addiction has been a nightmare for the world these days. This mental disorder and it’s omnipresent spread have affected everyone from the aristocrats to the marginalized rural population. This social catastrophe is capable of tarnishing all our achievements, all our successes as a nation. In addition to the state’s law, it is necessary to create awareness about drug addiction, its causes and remedies to get rid of this social disease.

Different types of personality have always been considered a significant cause of drug addiction. Personality is a combination of characteristics of a person that sets him apart from other people in society. Different levels of features, such as introversion or extroversion, shyness or playfulness, optimism or pessimism, skepticism or whimsy, patience, mood swings, etc., make a person’s personality different. These are the characteristics that determine a person’s response and behavior in different situations.

The interaction of drug addiction and personality is a bidirectional way proven in research.

It means that as drugs can cause personality change, certain personality traits can also encourage drug abuse. Besides, those who have personality disorders have a higher rate of drug misuse than the general population.

Many people nowadays use the term ‘Addictive Personality’ to describe the effects of personality on drug addiction. People of this personality quickly become addicted to drugs. But no such personality type has been proven in the study. However, several specific and distinct characteristics have been observed in drug addicts, such as:

Impulsivity

This feature is most common in drug addicts. It is also called black-and-white thinking. Impulsive people always consider any subject or event in any form of extremism, like completely good or bad. They can’t wait for any events instead want immediate results or pleasure in any endeavor. Therefore, they want instant happiness through drugs rather than long-term rewards in the future.

Compulsive Behavior

Despite not wanting it or effort to control, a person feels an irresistible attraction to something or cannot restrain himself from certain behaviors; Such as drug use, overeating. The person does it losing control even though he knows this is detrimental for himself.

Nonconformity

Many drug addicts overestimate being disregard of conventional social norms and become proud of such actions. Individuality is important, but to achieve it in this way, they often become isolated and lonely.

Poor Stress Coping

It has been found that those who have less ability to cope with stress, those who give up easily in times of crisis or danger have a higher risk of drug addiction, as they use drugs to cope with stress. But when the pressure does not decrease, the amount of drug use gradually increases.

Low self-esteem

Many people resort to drugs to get rid of personal lack, depression, cowardice, shame, frustration, etc. People suffering from social anxiety disorders take drugs to gain courage and confidence.

Grandiosity

Some people use to think themselves as the center of everything or everyone, therefore, doing inappropriate behaviors like drug use. But the fact is, they try to cover their weaknesses and shortcomings through such action.

Impatience

Drug addicts cannot wait for long-term results or happiness. They take drugs in the hope of gaining immediate pleasure.

Denial

Drug addicts resort to drugs because of their social skills and inability to cope with stress. Drugs create a fictional reality within themselves. In this way, they do not realize their problem and fail to solve it.

Anti-social

Those who do not care about the rules and regulations of the society, those who do not have guilt in them, who break the law, they have a high rate of drug use.

It is important to note that having all these personality traits does not make a person addicted to drugs. Despite the presence of these features in many, they do not become addicted to drugs. These can only help identify a suspected drug addict and help plan his or her treatment. It is also essential to keep in mind that the behavior of a drug addict can be changed.

In addition to these characteristics, personality disorders also play a role in drug addiction. It is often seen that personality disorder and drug addiction coexist. A significant number of studies have been conducted worldwide to determine the relationship between the two. Analysis of the results shows that 50 to 60 percent of drug addicts suffer from one or more personality disorders. One study found that about 21% of alcoholics have an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), 10% from paranoid, and 8% from anti-social personality disorders. The study of cocaine and alcohol addicts found that 21 percent had anti-social or abusive personalities, about 15 percent had narcissistic or self-absorbed personalities, and about 11 percent had borderline personality problems. Similar results have been observed in marijuana and opium addicts.

In some cases, a drug addict chooses drugs to relieve his or her personality problems or keep his or her mental state healthy. Similarly, excessive and prolonged drug use changes the chemical balance of the brain. In this context, disturbances of thought, consciousness, feeling, intellect, emotions, and an alteration in the personality, can occur.

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