Overachievers Can Become Over-abusers

In September 5, 2018

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There are many different circumstances that can cause people to be more vulnerable to developing addiction. Issues like genetic predisposition and environment play a significant role but certain personality traits can also lend themselves to addictive behavior. People who are perfectionists and overachievers may be more likely to abuse drugs because they use substances as a way to escape stress and pressure.

Overachievers tend to have high expectations of themselves and are afraid to fail at things. They may feel that their value or self-esteem depends on their achievements or talent. The constant pressure that they feel from internal expectations and their inability to be satisfied can cause them to seek drugs or alcohol to alleviate their feelings.

There are certain aspects of an overachieving personality that can also be related to addictive tendencies. People who are overachievers can be obsessive about things, be more inclined to take risks, act impulsively and generally seek instant gratification. These characteristics are all related to pleasure seeking and reward which can lead successful people to engage in addictive behavior.

Researchers believe that the same skills that drive people to seek pleasure in success can also cause people to derive pleasure from chemical substances. Overachievers are also more likely to have had to deal with stress or trauma in their past. Difficult circumstances can motivate people to become successful but they can also lead people to develop addictions.

People who have traits that make them successful can sometimes turn them into high-functioning addicts. They may have stronger issues with denial because they consider themselves accomplished and are ashamed to be seen as an addict. Eventually they need to overcome their feelings of embarrassment and admit they have a problem so that they can get the help they need form a treatment center.


By Dr. Reuben Vaisman-Tzachor

Primary Therapist