Wednesday, November 3

Addictive Personalities

When I first heard the term "addictive personality" it was from a high school girlfriend who heard it from her shrink. Needless to say, she had some problems, and caused some problems for me. Maybe that's an understatement. Upon hearing this term, I thought my girlfriend had mixed up the words.

"What do you mean you have an addictive personality?"

Well, that was what her psychiatrist said.

"Yeah but what the hell does that mean? I don't see people flocking to hang out with you."

No, she gets addicted to things easily.

"That's horseshit."

Now, I wasn't upset about the fact that my girlfriend had addictions to various things. No, that was old news. What I was upset with is this ass-backwards psych terminology.

It's as if a bunch of recent psych grads were sitting around naming personalities.



"Ooh, good one, Marcus. Addictive."


"Well yeah, someone who gets addicted easily..."

"Well, why don't we just say that? Someone Who Gets Addicted Easily."

::sigh:: "Because, Trent, it won't fit in the easy-to-read graph we're putting in the next Psych 101 book."

"Oh, I see."

And that was the last question asked about it.

Let's refer to Mr. American Heritage.

1. Causing or tending to cause addiction: an addictive substance.
2. Characterized by or susceptible to addiction: an addictive personality.
Number two is the polar opposite of number one. How can one word mean two opposite things? It's as if someone confused cretin had some strong influence over Merriam Webster. You know that second definition must have been added much later than the first one. Moreover, probably sneakily added.

"Ahem, attention. Attention, please. These are the following words to be added to next year's Silver 1950 version of the Oxford Dictionary. They are as follows:

and addictive persahumphh.
That will be all"

"Mayor, wait! What was that last one?"

"Didn't you hear me?! Addigmdn persmdmfphh. No more questions."


  1. Nice.
    There are physically measurable differences (as in empirical evidence) in the brain-chemistry of people with "addictive personalities" that most people would use to blow your concise argument of "bullshit." out of the water.
    However, I tend to side with you because we have something else that is not empirically measurable: will.
    Much the same way an alcoholic can will themselves to not drink alcohol, most people moderate themselves regardless of being more or less susceptible to addiction. Just like have a "history of cancer" in your family does not mean you will get cancer, having an "addictive personality" should not be a socially acceptable excuse for giving in to addiction. ...IMHO :P

  2. I totally agree with your humble opinion. In fact when I said bullshit, I was refering to the ass-backwards term itself, not the existence of such a personality. I believe it's kind of a half-genetics, half-environment play on the addiction thing.


You should probably engage in some conversation.