Is There Such a Thing as an Alcoholic Personality?
Often, individuals ask the question as to whether there is such a thing as an alcoholic personality. There are no easy answers to that question, as the answer could be yes or no.
First, a personality encompasses the qualities that form a person’s character. The better question to ask is are there specific qualities that influence whether someone becomes an alcoholic. The answer to this question is yes.
One quality of an alcoholic is sensitivity to rejection. Many alcoholics are sensitive to how others feel and think and there is an underlying desire to be liked. Some individuals who are alcoholics may placate family members or allow their thoughts and feelings to be unrecognized at the expense of themselves.
Alcoholics typically have a low tolerance for frustration. They experience poor emotional management and allow themselves to be more affected by stress or anxiety. Alcoholics also show impulsive tendencies. Some alcoholics look at those who do not drink as boring and they will choose not to engage with non-drinkers.
Low self-esteem is another quality of an alcoholic; however, one could say this about a lot of individuals who are not alcoholics. Interestingly, an individual might start drinking to feel less inhibited and more outgoing or low self-esteem can be a result of drinking. Over time, the more they drink the more their life becomes unmanageable. This can exacerbate feeling powerless, which in turn lowers their self-esteem.
Many alcoholics do not like people seeing them vulnerable. An alcoholic might go to great lengths to be someone they are not. This could be because they do not want others to see them drink but it could be more than that. If an alcoholic is vulnerable, they might open themselves up to be susceptible to emotional or physical harm. The alcoholism keeps others at a distance emotionally.
The truth is, alcoholism cannot be predicted. Alcoholics come in all forms, emotionally and physically. There is no one personality type of an alcoholic because of the sheer number of personalities that exist. Research supports that there are certain qualities that alcoholics might share, but again this is not an absolute. There is really no logic to alcoholism as many can share certain qualities while at the same time not share certain qualities.