To start with, personality disorder also referred to as character disorder, is a class of personality behavior types. The behavioral patterns of personality disorders are exhibited by severe behavioral disturbance especially involving situations of personality. They are pervasive, inflexible, and inflexible across diverse situations, as a result of the fact that the behavior exhibited is ego-syntotic and, therefore, taken to be relevant by the individual. It is a disorder that the individual finds himself or herself perceiving and connecting to situations and people, even including him or herself. A person suffering from personality disorder shows a character that is inflexible and has an unhealthy thought pattern and behavior. This can ultimately lead to problems with self-esteem, relationships, work, and even school.
The history of personality disorders development in an individual can be traced to the early stages of adolescents and early adulthood. There are a number of personality disorders, for example, paranoid personality disorders, antisocial, narcissistic, dependent, avoidant, depressive and obsessive personality disorders amongst many others.
The concept of addiction was introduced to deal with the recurrence of behaviors, emotions, moods, and cognitions. Both personality disorder and addiction are exegetic, organizing, and predictive. When the addicts show their behavior, or engage in some addictive activities, they are looking for changing their perception concerning their environment. Most of the time people with addictive disorders do well in self-deception. They do not believe that whatever they are doing is wrong, they just take it as normal.
According to the Addiction-prone personality, a book by Gordon E. Barnes, says that there is a strong correlation between personality disorders and addiction, the best example for this is drug abuse. Studies done so far have indicated that people with personality problems are more prone to drug addiction. It was also found out that people who withdrew from alcohol and drug abuse, showed high chances of getting personality disorders. In this matter, the symptoms are widely substance related and will diminish with prolonged abstinence. In other individuals, the personality disorders may persist for a long period after substance abstinence.
People with prolonged addiction suffer various personality disorder traits like anxiety, depression, impatient, and keeps asking for narcotics medication. Not every addict, however, has a personality disorder, and not every individual with a personality disorder has an addiction. However, much of the personality disorders have strong connection with addiction. People who have personality disorders usually have no regard for the social norms and people’s feelings. They always do what is contrary to the law, act deceitfully, showing reckless behavior, failing to be apologetic for wrong doings and in extreme cases, suicidal.
Just like addiction, an individual with borderline personality behavior have a lot of trouble maintaining or sustaining healthy relationships. Their traits include poor self-image, paranoia, impulsivity, mood swings, uncontrollable anger, and fear of abandonment. The individuals with this personality behavior usually have difficulty understanding their own identity. Fears of being abandoned may cause them to depend excessively on others. These disorders usually happen immediately one stars experiencing drug addiction and some can be portrayed when one abruptly stops using drugs.
Personality disorders have strong correlation with addiction in teenagers. Clinicians have found out that there is a higher chance of addiction if the teen shows personality traits like- low self-esteem, aggressiveness, popular socially and refusing to follow authority. When these young teens get addicted, the substance starts to become more useful than anything else does. They lie about their whereabouts so that they can continue using the drug without chances of being discovered. The personality traits of easily getting offended and mood swings start getting toll on these addicts.
Several investigations have been done in finding the impact of personality disorders in measuring the subsequent addiction. Research done by Pulkkinen and Patkinen(1994) shows that among 196 male children studied, addiction was followed by personality disorders like borderline and narcissistic disorders where children started suffering from high anxiety, higher aggression levels, prosociality and mood swings.
Of the personality disorders, the anti-social personality disorder can be easily diagnosed and was found to be affecting almost 25% of the opioid addicts who were seeking treatment. It is, however, inaccurate to conclude that the drug-seeking trait, which was learnt during the early years of addiction, is solely responsible for the greater percentage of antisocial personality disorders among the addicts. This disorder can be easily diagnosed in a number of individuals at their young age.
Anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and dementia are prevalent among the substance addicts. Members of this class are young and economically stable. They, however, respond much quickly to treatment, and the personality disorder gradually diminishes as they continue to full recovery.
The co-morbidity between the drug addicts and personality disorders like mental illness is a major problem and has deep implications. The clinical research shows that there is a high chance of the addict to have gross personality disorders and high level of psychopathology caused by drug abuse. It is often related with affective disorders and higher risks of suicidal behavior. A study of dual diagnosis of heroin addicts revealed that 533 heroin addicts who were treated, 86 % of them were affected by personality or psychiatric disorders. More importantly, the previous study indicated that the highest personality disorder faced by the addicts was depression (23.8%). Khantzian and Treeze (58) explained in a small sample of 133 opioid addicts, which showed that the most widespread psychiatric disorder were personality disorder (65%) and mood (60%).
Recent studies in personality disorders support the merits of personality in predicting the alcohol and substance abuse risk. In a particular investigation, Kwapil (1996) studied the importance or goodness of psychosis-prone character traits and non- conformity in establishing substance abuse .Research conducted on high risk individuals has also shown that there is a high correlation between personality disorders and addiction. It was shown that an individual who had personality disorders would resort to drug abuse in order to gain relief of the problems they were undergoing. It was shown that when the addicts take part in addictive behaviors, they want to change their view to the environment. They want to make the world have a happier face, or literally put, to mask the hardship they are encountering in life. Addict’s belief that drugs makes their world look brighter, fun-filled, varicolored, and hopeful (Linehan, 1993).
What make personality disorders and addiction disorders to have a strong correlation, are the symptoms they portray. Just like personality disorders, a person suffering from addictive disorders has mood swings, anti social behaviors, suicidal, depressed, and full of anxiety. The reason as to why they portray such behavior is because they have a fear of being caught with the disorder. The intense feeling of isolation starts to take toll on the addicts, just like personality disorder (Frances, et al, 2011).
Overall, the eve of these addictive and personality behaviors are traced to the growth patterns of an individual and the environment in which they were brought up. It is imperative to understand that the individuals who were subjected to much physical and emotional abuse during their early periods of growth and development have high chances of developing personality disorders and eventually succumbing to drug-abuse.