If you break down what the commonalities are of people who have substance use disorders (SUDs), you will likely find that the biggest one is that they all have a need to partake in substance use. They all have feelings that won’t go away until their needs are met, and their lives are very much impacted because of it. The lives of everyone around them are affected as well. Looking further into SUDs and similarities, the most important one to recognize is that those who use substances to the point of addiction all need a helping hand and the opportunity to improve their lives and get back on their feet in a positive direction.
Instances of SUDs are hard for a person to deal with, but changes are, that isn’t the only battle they’re fighting. In many cases, people who engage in substance use also are dealing with other disorders that may not be so apparent because their SUD steals the limelight. Often, people use substances as a means of escaping the symptomologies of other disorders such as depression and anxiety, among many others. Feeling debilitated in their daily life makes it hard for them to function and substance use may have made these individuals feel as though they were able to loosen up and get through their other issues easier. Although, this is not a sustainable coping mechanism. If you know someone or come across someone with a SUD do not simply assume that they are just bad people who make poor choices. Yes, their choices matter, but they were simply not able to handle their problems the same way that you do. Instead of passing judgement, help them to get into recovery and to learn the right ways of overcoming obstacles to do better in the future.
Development of an Alter-Ego
Individuals suffering from a SUD often develop characteristics or personality traits that aren’t anything like the person that they used to be before the start of their substance use. Researcher Robert J. Craig and his colleagues used the Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory in order to assess common personality traits among participants who suffer from SUDs, namely those who are alcoholics. Within the data they collected, they found that while there were differences among participants, many of the alcoholics depicted similar personality styles such as Schizotypal, Paranoid, and Borderline personality disorders, through the exhibition of characteristics such as dependent submission and avoidance. They also noted that these individuals experienced higher levels of hopelessness and psychological issues that were most commonly due to the continued effects from prolonged alcohol. Some of which include emotional states of confusion and impairment in memory and cognitive function. These researchers do believe that studying this concept further through asking the right questions can help to further use personality styles to gain information such as likelihood of relapse.
From a clinical standpoint there are proven personality traits that are present within substance users, but these characteristics show themselves in many different forms in one’s normal environment. Many of those with SUDs gain tunnel vision, only being focused on obtaining their next fix, which leads them to be neglectful of their responsibilities. They lose interest in their hobbies or goals they once had for themselves. Typically, they become unproductive unless it suits their needs. Manipulation is common among those with farther developed SUDs because those who have been using substances for a longer period of time may have exhausted their own resources in an attempt to keep their usage going. Ultimately, they begin doing whatever it takes to meet their needs, even if it means taking advantage of someone else. They may end up lying or stealing to get their needs met as well. While all of these are not positive things, the important thing to remember is that many people with SUDs were not like this before they began relying on substances. They were happy, loving, productive, inspiring people who simply lost their way. What’s important is that there is an effort made to help them get into recovery so that they can lose this alter-ego that they’ve created for themselves and get back to being the good people that they once were, only even better than before.
If you are currently suffering from a SUD, there is a chance that you may feel as though you have lost your way. You may not understand why you are where you are or how to find a way out. We want to help you get back on track. Make a personal investment in yourself and get help today. Having a team and really community of support to help get you through can offer piece of mind and a sense of security. At Enlight Treatment Center, we emphasize care and comfort and we want to be that team for you to help you overcome issues and get back to your best self. Whether you have questions or want to visit our facility and talk with us in person, we are always here for you. You can call us at (805)719-7954 or schedule a tour of our facility at 11811 Darlene Lane, Moorpark, CA 93021.