Addictive Personality

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The term addictive personality has been used in various ways, most commonly to refer to a recurrent pattern observed in many alcoholics and other substance abusers: impulsivity, immaturity (dependency and neediness), poor frustration tolerance, anxiety, and depression. Many of these features disappear during extended periods of abstinence, however, suggesting that they may be either related directly to the drug use, to the life it imposes, or to social response, rather than to personality. Addictive personalitymore accurately preaddictive personalityhas also been used to refer to personality characteristics presumed to predate drug use and as such are predictive of such use. These aspects of personality are likely to include early difficulties in impulse control and submission to authorityand sensitivity to anxiety and depression.

(See also: Addictive Personality and Psychological Tests ; Causes of Substance Abuse ; Childhood Behavior and Later Drug Use ; Coping and Drug Use )


Kandel, D. B. (1978). Convergences in prospective longitudinal surveys of drug use in normal populations. In D. B. Kandel (Ed.), Longitudinal research on drug abuse: Empirical findings and methodological issues, (pp. 3-38). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Publishing.

Smith, G. M., & Fogg, C. P. (1978). Psychological predictors of early youth, late youth, and nonuse of marihuana among teenage students. In D. B. Kandel (Ed.), Longitudinal research on drug abuse: Empirical findingsand methodological issues (pp. 101-113). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Publishing.

Vaillant, G. E. (1983). The natural history of alcoholism. Cambridge; Harvard University Press.

William A. Frosch

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Addictive Personality

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