Term Paper: Relationship Between Different Personality Types and Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol

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Personality Type as a Predictor of Addictions

Evidence linking substance abuse, either alcohol or other substances, to an increased incidence of personality disorders. This study expands on previous studies and explores the link between happiness and depression stemming from a number of personality disorders. The hypothesis postulates that a link correlation will be found between a higher incidence of depression as a result of personality disorder and alcoholism. Those that experience happiness as a result of their personality disorder are expected to be less likely to become involved in substance abuse. The study will use MCMI to assess the presence of personality disorder and happiness or depression in the participant. It will take place at a local residential substance abuse treatment program.

Introduction

The ability to predict substance abuse is an important tool for clinicians. Substance abuse is complex and difficult to treat due to the presence of a number of risk factors. One of the key arguments among clinicians is whether substance abuse caused comorbid psychological disorders, or whether substance abuse is simply just another symptom of the psychological disorder. A number of external factors have been found to increase the likelihood of substance abuse, such as an abusive childhood or low socioeconomic status. However, internal factors are considered to be a better predictor of substance abuse than external factors. Every individual is different and will react to external factors differently.

The more we know about how an individual is likely to react to external stimulus, the better we can predict complications that might arise as a result of these factors. Craig, Verinis, & Wexler, (1985) found that alcoholics scored higher on personality scales for avoidant, passive-aggressive, schizotypal, borderline, and paranoid disorders. Opiate addicts scored higher on narcissistic personality scales. This analysis demonstrated common personality traits among both groups. These similarities might alert clinicians that a person with a certain set of personality traits might also be at risk for developing co-morbidity with alcoholism. The purpose of this study will be to help identify one more factor that might help clinicians to predict and treat substance abuse in their patients with personality disorder.

Research Problem

This study will explore the relationship between depression resulting from personality disorders and substance abuse. It will demonstrate that substance is more prevalent in those with depression than those that experience happiness as a result of their personality disorder. The research question will as, "Is there a difference in the prevalence of substance between those that suffer from depression as a result of a personality disorder and those that experience happiness as a result of their personality disorder?"

Background

This study stems from a the need for clinicians to better understand the complexities of substance abuse so that they can develop more effective treatment programs for their patients. Academic literature has focused on this topic for some time and has discovered a number of conditions that complicate substance abuse. Many of the factors are predictive in nature and might help in the diagnosis of conditions such as hidden addiction, where the person is not willing to admit that they have a problem.

This hypothesis is the result of previous research that explored comorbidity between substance abuse and its connection to personality disorders. These studies found a link between substance abuse and personality disorders. However, they did not establish the direction of causality. This research study will bring the field closer to discovering the subtle mechanisms of these relationships. It is expected that in a population of persons in a residential treatment facility that the frequency of those with depressive disorders stemming from personality disorders will be greater than those the experience happiness resulting from their personality disorder.

The presence of comorbidity between personality disorders and substance abuse is not a new idea. There are a number of academic studies that recognize this connection. The link between alcohol dependence and alcoholism was first studied in the 1980s. Several studies found a link between substance abuse and personality disorders. It was found that a significant number of alcoholics as displayed co-morbidity for anti-social personality disorders (Bucholz, et al., 2000). Epstein et al. (2002) found that alcoholics in various treatment facilities could be divided into subtypes. They also noted comorbidities with personality disorders among the various subtypes of alcohol abuse.

These studies are limited due to their inability to establish causality, let alone the direction of causality between the two comorbidity factors. This research will help to determine one potential cause of addiction associated with personality disorder. If the hypothesis in this research holds true then clinicians will know that it is not necessarily the personality disorder that is linked to addictive behaviors, but that the depression associated with it is to blame. Those that are happy are expected to be less likely to engage in addictive behaviors than those with depression.

Personality was a significant predictor of the likelihood that a teen would turn to alcohol or other substance abuse (Gerra et al., 2004). It was found that teens with certain personality traits had a greater chance of developing alcoholism than those that did not have these traits.

Bowden-Jones et al., (2004) found that not only was there a correlation between personality disorder and the presence of substance abuse, there was also a quantitative relationship as well. As the severity of the personality disorder increased, so did the symptoms of substance abuse.

The studies found as a result of the literature review were limited in scope, as they used a narrow set of criterion for selection of their sample subjects. The results of these studies could only be applied to narrow populations. For instance, using patients in a VA facility (Bucholz, et al., 2000) might introduce certain biases that could affect the results. For instance, it could not be determined how many of the patients in the study suffered from Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of exposure to battle. PTSD has been associated with depression and a number of other factors that could have skewed the results of this study.

The study by Gerra et al., (2004) was limited to teenagers. This study also assessed familial factors and other external variables that could have affected the results as well. Depression and personality disorders are different than in an adult population. These studies are limited in their applicability due to the limited population. The proposed research will eliminate these problems by drawing its sample from the general population at large. The population will be enrolled in a residential substance abuse program. However, this is not expected to skew the results in this study.

The hypothesis postulates that a link correlation will be found between a higher incidence of depression as a result of personality disorder and alcoholism. Those that experience happiness as a result of their personality disorder are expected to be less likely to become involved in substance abuse. The main persons who will benefit from this study are clinicians and their patients. One cannot treat substance abuse without treating the underlying condition. Therefore, if depression is found to be a major complicating factor in substance abuse, then it will be necessary to treat the depression as a part of the patient's substance abuse treatment program.

This research will represent the beginning of research that will fill a significant research gap. Researchers currently know that substance abuse is associated with several internal and external factors. However, they do not know the mechanisms of these apparent associations. Therefore, they do not know how to integrate them into diagnosis and treatment plans. This research represents the first step in the ability to glean useful information that will help to improve the effectiveness of current treatment strategies.

Method

The rationale for the study methodology will draw from similar studies in the past (Bowden-Jones, 2004; Craig, Verinis, & Wexler, 1985). Craig, Verinis, & Wexler, (1985) conducted a similar study that compared personality traits from a selected group of alcoholics and opiate addicts in a VA rehabilitation facility. They used the Millon Clinical Multiracial Inventory (MCMI) as the scale for assessing the presence of personality types and disorders. The MCMI was used as a basis for comparison between the two groups. This study proposes to address the same set of personality disorders that was the basis of the study conducted by Craig, Verinis, & Wexler (1985). The purpose of this study is to compare two groups in s similar fashion. However, in this study, the MCMI will be used to separate the subjects into groups according to their personality disorder.

Sample Population

The sample population for this study will consist of 100 participants that are currently undergoing treatment at a residential rehabilitation treatment facility. They will consist of those with multiple substances of abuse and those that are single substance abusers. All of the participants will have been in the program for at least one week prior to administration of the MCMI. The MCMI will be used to separate out those participants that are relatively happy and those that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Relationship Between Different Personality Types and Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol.  (2007, April 24).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/relationship-different-personality/5705457

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