Do different kinds of personality attract certain types of drugs, or do people that become addicted simply have an addictive personality?
Will someone who is addicted to cocaine, for instance, be as likely to become addicted to alcohol? Or is it our personalities that dictate what types of drugs we are most likely to take? Are we more likely to be attracted to a certain drug if we have particular character traits? Research seems to suggest this is the case.
People take drugs and become addicted for many different reasons, but there is evidence to suggest that the types of drugs you gravitate to are dependent on your personality.
So what types of drugs are attractive to particular personalities?
Both men and women can become alcoholics but mainly it is men that succumb to this type of drug. Research shows that this might be because alcohol affects men’s brains differently to women’s. Even if men and women drink the same amount of alcohol, men had a greater release of dopamine (the pleasure hormone) than women.
It has also be shown that if a young person starts drinking early they are more likely to become addicted to alcohol at a later age. There is also research that suggests anyone who is in an unstimulating environment where alcohol is freely available can become addicted.
Marijuana is a relaxant and calms the mind. Research has shown that it is prevalent in intelligent students within both genders and middle-aged parents.
In fact, the numbers of middle-aged parents who smoke weed are steadily increasing, and will soon surpass teenage use. Not only that but in older groups such as 50’s, 60’s and over retirement age, smoking weed has increased by 333% since 2002. This suggests that older people might be returning to marijuana use, after a long gap from their teenage years.
A typical heroin user will have unresolved psychological issues and very low self-esteem. They are likely to have suffered some form of trauma or abuse in their lives and take heroin to numb their feelings. Many heroin users do not have a healthy perception of themselves, which could be because of past issues, such as abuse or neglect. They will feel worthless and use heroin to escape their problems.
Cocaine use is associated with wealthy banking types and is used to get a rush and a high. However, research suggests that more women than men become addicted to cocaine.
There is also evidence to suggest that young people who consume energy drinks are more likely to go on to use cocaine later on in life. It is not sure why this is the case but the logical explanation is that as the sugar rush from the drinks lessens, users turn to stronger alternatives.
Ecstasy is a mood-altering drug that acts as a stimulant. This type of drug attracts younger people aged between 12 and 25 from a middle-class background. Users of this drug are sociable, friendly, and love to party, which is where the drug is commonly taken, in clubs and at parties. Girls are more likely than boys to become addicted and children with high IQs are also likely to use ecstasy.
Opiate use is steadily rising and is found in all walks of society. It can affect rich and poor alike, and both genders. It is known as the silent killer, as many people taking opiates such as codeine and other opioid painkillers do not think they have a problem. This is because painkillers can be bought over the counter and are typically prescribed, in the first instance, by a doctor to treat severe pain.
Many people who abuse painkillers are from this category, where they became addicted after an accident or a prescription. People who typically fall victim to opiate addiction feel as if they are lacking something in their life. Painkillers give a warm, loving feeling to the user and make up for what is missing.
“It started as a genuine attempt by doctors to help those who needed it,” says Dr. David Caraway. “There was a rationale for treating pain aggressively with opioids. But 10 years down the line we have come to understand the consequences.”
Crack cocaine is associated with childhood trauma such as physical, mental or sexual abuse. In one study, over 60% of crack cocaine users admitted they had suffered some kind of abuse as a child. Many will turn to drugs in order to cope with this abuse.
Use of crack cocaine is also prevalent in victims of domestic abuse, particularly expectant mothers who were trapped in abusive relationships. People who use crack cocaine tend to have very low self-esteem, feel worthless and often self-harm as well as use drugs.
Do you think that the types of drugs a person uses are linked to personality traits or is there some other explanation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!