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redplanet
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05 May 2009, 8:50 am

Do people with AS often have an addictive personality as well, or are the two things totally separate? A person with an addictive personality is defined as becoming addicted to a substance, activity or person and focussing their life life around it. Would the "special interest" in AS be defined as an addiction or obsession or does it depend on other factors? Just wondering how much the two things overlap. Also, it's interesting as somebody with an addiction is usually seen as trying to avoid unpleasant emotions (though unconsciously) but I don't think this is generally the case in AS.



mechanicalgirl39
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05 May 2009, 9:16 am

I have a VERY addictive personality. If I take up something I like and do it regularly, it becomes hugely part of me and I feel really deficient and less than alive without it.

I think that's why I never experimented with drugs, even alcohol. I know I'm not one of those people who could take it or leave it.


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05 May 2009, 10:58 am

I have an addictive personality and I'm just thankful that I haven't become an alcoholic because of it. For whatever reason I don't have that addictive nature when drinking most alcoholic beverages, just one in particular: butterscotch schnapps. Because I love sweets and am heavily addicted to them, butterscotch schnapps is my drink of choice. I love it so much, in fact, that I can buy a huge bottle of it and down it in one night. I try not to do this, though, and thankfully I haven't purchased any lately.

As a kid I stayed away from drugs and smoking, and I fear that I might be hooked on those had I ever taken to them. I stayed away from drugs just because I knew they were bad and I wanted nothing to do with them. Sometimes I feel like I might have missed out by not doing them, but I think I'm a better person for having never touched them.

I get addicted to people often, I will find someone who I enjoy being around and become obsessed with them, hence the addictive nature once again.

Back when I was 21 I decided I'd try gambling since I live in a major casino city. My first time playing the slots, I won $150. I was hooked. I would go by there every day after work and spend a good share of my paycheck trying to win. I won two nights in a row, and never again after that. Eventually I was able to make myself stop going, and it did take a while to do this but I did succeed.

So yes, I'd say I have an addictive personality and have often wondered if, perhaps, my AS was the reason for this.



mitharatowen
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05 May 2009, 11:03 am

I am not sure what the difference is between an 'addictive personality' and a person with AS obsessions. I will have to look more into it to give a definitive answer but I know that I have always considered myself to have an addictive personality before discovering AS. I always get hooked on things/people. Like above, I am glad that I am not an alchoholic. I think I easily could be if I started to do it more often. As it is, I limit my drinking. But it has a rather 'high' like effect on me so I could easily become addicted to that feeling, I think.



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05 May 2009, 11:29 am

I am a "recovering alcoholic" ( I use quotation marks because jargon really irritates me ) and have been sober for 9 years. I do not crave alcohol but I know that if I take a drink something will trigger in my brain and I will very quickly return to the land of the living dead. My sister in law was raised by an alcoholic and tells me she doesn't think I fit the personality profile but that my drinking was more OCD related. She has credibility career wise btw. My drinking started for social courage (Does Not Work!) and then became more for relief from depression and anxiety. Alcohol gives you a pseudo lift from depression in the short term. Now that I'm sober I crave sugar. I get addicted to people but I've learned now to keep it internal. I think there are a lot of things going on when someone gets addicted- I've also thought my tendency to overeat and chainsmoke as a kind of stimming.



redplanet
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05 May 2009, 11:35 am

Your replies have been really interesting. I have an addictive personality and also suspect AS, or at the very least autistic traits, so I've been wondering how much they are liked. I'm terribly addicted to sugary food and I also get obsessed with a person although the person can change over time. I was really addicted to television when I was a child and only recently got out of that. I don't drink or smoke as like a lot of you I'm afraid I would get addicted. I'm an all or nothing person and find it hard to juggle lots of balls in the air - it's either one or none. I'm also addicted to the internet to a large extent and find it hard to keep away from it. I wish I wasn't so obsessive as I think I'd feel happier but I can't help it.



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05 May 2009, 12:25 pm

hi- i also have a really addictive personality- as in- have eaten almost nothing the last 8 days to pay for things i do not need- and oh!- im about to do it again. i cant really stop.
im not sure of any a.s. link, though- with anything- brown eyes, say, there will always be a certain amuont of a.s. people with it.
but i think a.s heightens some of this behaviour- failing to think out consequences, or being unable to change a train of thought once ive embarked upon it (think of walking into a ravine- thats how i think- i can go forward with the train of thought, but leaving it is very hard).
it also slightly induces some of it- i am lonely, and find other ways of finding pleasure. i live alone, so can hide it...
i think a.s. exacerbates, but does not cause it in me- for once this is a facet of my behavior i think is just normal (if dysfunctional).
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05 May 2009, 12:28 pm

I am also a recovering addict and alchoholic. Substance problems (d and a) are strong co-morbids of an ASD.

I've been clean and sober for about 11 years.
My using and drinkng was never really social. It was purely about managing sensory issues, and other traits of my ASD...trying to dull it all down a bit and get some peace and some relief.
I had a drug counsellor who was an academic in Behavioural Science in Medicine at one of the top uni's in my country and he kept saying - "you do not fit the normal profile of an addict. There is something different about you. You have a different profile fromt he other clients I see."
this was in the 80's and early 90's before there was a clear dissemination of knowledge about milder forms of ASD's such as AS.
I contacted him recently after my dx and let him know. It all made sense.



redplanet
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05 May 2009, 12:51 pm

I forgot to add that I was also addicted to food for about 3 years - not sugary food but keeping to a rigid diet. I wrote long shopping lists down to the brand of beans I would buy, plus I drew up detailed plans of every single meal and its nutritional value. I never actually stuck to these plans for more than a couple of weeks at a time but I took a lot of time making them and i think I got some comfort out of them. I oncer read that AS is harder to diagnose in females because obsessions with food can come under other labels and the AS hence isn't spotted.



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05 May 2009, 1:32 pm

Also for what it's worth here, my older brother, who most likely has Asperger's as well, has struggled with alcoholism and drugs his entire adult life. And my little brother, who just turned 21, though he shows less AS traits than the rest of us, is also heading down that road.

Again, I feel fortunate to not be into drugs or an alcoholic, because I do feel that I am more prone to addiction than the average person.



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05 May 2009, 3:26 pm

During the last 15 years or so of my alcohol addiction I was a bartender in a bar near a university. I worked 10 hours a day and people always commented on how calm I was. I wasn't calm. I was choking down what I now know was sensory overload and when I got off my shift I would have a drink to keep from screaming (seriously). I never intended more than one or two but once the train was on the track it wasn't coming off. When my son was being tested I had an intake interview with a psychiatric social worker. I mentioned that both myself and my ex were addicts and she said " Oh, don't worry autistics don't get addicted." Hmmm.



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05 May 2009, 3:41 pm

I think I also have what you would call an addictive personality. I get addicted to things (subject matter), to the point where I feel compelled to follow them- I get totally drawn in. I was a workaholic for many years- (my work was my special interest, though the intensity has recently lessened somewhat, as I´ve moved on to other things). In one set of diagnostic criteria for AS, it is written that the AS person has an "intense pattern of stereotyped, narrow interests which are harmful to self or other": well, I don´t think my interests have ever been harmful to another person, but they have actually been harmful to me at times.

I was also anorexic for awhile, and I think of anorexia as being like an addiction. It is definitely a pattern of thinking that one gets drawn into, and can´t come out of easily, like an addiction.

When I was in my late teens I discovered that I felt better in social situations after drinking wine, so I became a "social drinker". At one point, I had a boyfriend who always drank wine every night with dinner, and after being with him, I picked up his routine of drinking wine every night: (that´s what I do, I tend to pick up some routines from people I hang around with, and I incorporate them as my own). I hope I would not be considered an alcoholic; but, well, I am pretty rigid about wanting to have my wine every night! Where that´s concerned, I´m not always sure where a "routine" stops and where an "addiction" begins....for instance, I also have certain routines about certain foods, there are foods and other drinks I have every day and don´t like to go without them...so, I guess some people might even say that some of those things are addictions, who knows.

What´s interesting though, is people always seem to associate addictions with bad things. But what if one has a healthy addiction? Is it no longer considered an addiction, because it´s healthy? What if someone is addicted to eating lots of green, leafy vegetables every day, and freaked out if they were in a situation where they couldn´t....would that still be considered an addiction???


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EvoVari
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05 May 2009, 4:17 pm

The addictive type personality would describe my persona. Such wasted energies on simple interests. Not sure if it is part of the neurological difference.

Many with AS will have traditional obsessive interests, like Trains etc. Mine is people watching and I can remember this interest began as a young child, annalysing the different behaviours/interactions. The perfect body, the defects, pretty face, lines, curves, hair and this is gender neutral.



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14 Sep 2012, 8:22 pm

I find this question to be very interesting, especially since I can't see anyone here actually say that an addictive personality and AS are not linked.



feelingforsnow
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14 Sep 2012, 10:07 pm

Apparently, I get addicted to coworkers. Since my job stresses me out so much, any job I ever had stresses me out, I have to think about it all and analyze everything when I am home. Otherwise, I wouldn't be prepared for the daily onslaught! I find certain people I like to work with, and become addicted to them. I think this is because, through my addiction to them, I am helping myself channel alot of sensory overload, through my feelings for this person. I realize by saying this that this means my interest in them is slightly selfish, yet I am always there for someone to talk about problems and I am in general a very accepting person, accepting of traits...so people like me at first, but then they sense the selfish drive to use them, although I offer something in return, its just not good enough for them.



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15 Sep 2012, 12:43 am

I have a very addictive personality. My friend who has AS does not though. She does have a special interest and she's really "addicted" to it in that she spends all her free time doing things related to it but she has really good self discipline and if she finds out eating something that she really likes isn't healthy for her for example she can just easily stop eating it! That's amazing to me......I'm really bad at getting myself to do things like that.