Is There Such Thing As An Alcoholic Personality?

by pgh

Do you have an alcoholic personality?  Does such a thing even exist?

The answer is both yes and no.  Alcoholics generally have the same kind of personalities as non-alcoholics.  Alcoholics come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain personality traits that do seem more common than usual amongst alcoholics.

1. A Low Sense of Self-Worth

Alcoholics tend to have low-self esteem.  While this could partially be one of the reasons the alcoholic started to drink in the first place, its also an effect of alcoholism itself.  The more they abuse alcohol, the more their life falls apart, the more powerless they feel, and the lower their self-worth becomes.

2. A Low Tolerance For Frustration

Alcoholics tend to get easily frustrated when things aren’t working out.  Alcoholics also seem to get more affected by stress and anxiety than the average person.

3. Impulsiveness

Alcoholics tend to be more impulsive than the average population.  Certain alcoholics tend to look at non-alcoholics as boring, unadventurous people.

4. More Sensitive

Alcoholics tend to be especially sensitive.  This means that they’ll usually be more sensitive to rejection (this could be linked to a low sense of self worth).  However, this sensitivity also makes many alcoholics brilliant creative people.  Many, many, many great writers, artists, and musicians have been afflicted by alcoholism.

5. Afraid Of Intimacy

While many alcoholics may be gregarious, articulate, and charming on the outside, alcoholics tend to be scared of sharing their vulnerabilities with other people.  Part of this isolation might arise from the nature of alcoholism itself – the need to hide their drinking – but it probably goes deeper than that.

You Can’t Predict Future Alcoholism Based On Personality Alone

While certain personality traits seem especially common amongst alcoholics, you still can’t predict if someone is going to become an alcoholic, based on an “alcoholic personality”.  The characteristics that seem common amongst alcoholics are also very common in the general population – they just seem especially common amongst alcoholics.

Yes, if someone has alcoholic parents, they’re probably more likely to become an alcoholic themselves.  However, that might be just as much due to their environment than any inherited genetic or personality trait.

At the end of the day, alcoholics come in all personality types.  Some alcoholics may be naturally shy and quiet, while others are social butterflies.  Some are thoughtful and sensitive, while others are sociopaths.  Some are adventurous and impulsive, while others may be conservative and risk-adverse.

Although many researchers have attempted to use personality traits to predict alcoholism, no one has been successful so far.  There’s very little logic to alcoholism, and predicting future alcoholism based on personality traits simply doesn’t work.

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