Two major personality types are extroverts and introverts. They each have certain ways to interact with the world and process information.
Does either personality type make you more prone to addiction?
There seems to be some controversy regarding this.
For example, an extroverted person can become extremely introverted when they are in the midst of addiction, but experts are torn as to whether this makes them a “true” introvert. So far, the jury is still out, but isolation and social anxiety are common traits in addiction, which are common in introverts.
However, alcoholism in elderly people seems to be more prominent among people who would be considered extroverts.
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Definition
Researchers estimate that extroverts make up 50 to 74 percent of the population. Extroverts are commonly called “social butterflies” because they thrive under social stimulation. Extroverts focus on their external environment, the people and activities around them. Extroverts learn by doing and talking through problems. They thrive in active, fast paced jobs.
Introverts get their energy from having “alone time.” They enjoy spending time alone and can be uncomfortable in social settings. Introverts thrive in more intellectual and creative career paths. Introverts prefer to focus on one task and observe a situation before jumping in.
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Discrepancy
One of the most common discrepancies between studies of the underlying personality in patients with alcoholism is that some studies report that alcoholics are more extroverted, while others report that alcoholics are more introverted. Many alcoholics are depressed, which is associated with introversion, so it may be a possible reason for the discrepancy.
For example, studies that report more introversion may be lumping people suffering from both depression and substance abuse together with all other subjects, and those who report more extroversion in alcoholics may be excluding people with co-morbid disorders from the study.
Nevertheless, the studies that report more introverts among addicts are more common than the ones that report more extroversion.
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Why introversion could be more common in addicts?
Substance abuse may result from an introvert trying to be more social and trying to connect with other people. When introverts start using drugs and alcohol, it can significantly improve their ability to deal with social situations. It can turn an introvert into a social butterfly. Without drugs and alcohol, however, the social anxiety and tendency to isolate comes back. An introvert will also be better at hiding their problems, which means they can fall deep into addiction without family and friends noticing the extent of the decline.
An introverted person is also less likely to reach out to other people for help when their substance abuse begins interfering with their everyday life. When their addiction gets worse, an introvert will usually prefer to drink or use drugs alone, which can allow them to hide the problem for a longer time. The ability of an introvert to think deeply about things can be a liability in addiction, because they are more likely to become trapped in their own delusions.
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.