Personality and Addiction

Personality and Addiction

Blog Post 2

Both of Dr. Vassileva’s lectures directly relate to each other in the sense that different personality traits can lead to more risky behavior and make you more susceptible to drug addiction. In the first lecture, she described the different results of our SURPS tests and how each category (anxiety sensitivity, negative thinking, impulsivity, sensation seeking) plays a role in addiction, what drug is usually abused, and how to treat someone when they are high in these categories. In her second lecture, she related the SURPS test and narrowed it down to just specifically looking at impulsivity, and how it relates to addiction. The likelihood of addiction was based on many factors, but the most prominent were genes and our personality, which is shaped by your environment. The interaction between the environment that was seen in Dr.Vassileva’s lecture relates to Dr.Salavatore and her lecture about relationships. They both talk about how genetic and environmental factors impact the behavior or outcome of a person, whether it’s their relationship described by Dr.Salavatore, or addiction lectured from Dr.Vassileva. However, they differ in the amount of role each factor as. From what I understood from the relationship lecture is that genes play a role but not a huge one compared to addiction.

A common element to the topics we learned is how genetics and environment play a role in our behavior. One of the first lectures in the class was done by Dr.Dick where she explained the question of what causes human behavior. The insight about how much of our genes and environment determine our behavior helped me understand in more detail when Dr.Vassileva and Dr.Salavatore gave their lectures about addiction and relationships. Also, since all the weekly readings talk, in more depth than others, about negative emotions, anxiety, and depression, the lecture Dr.Sood did help set a baseline for understanding about anxiety and negative thinking in addiction, in relationships, and in the broaden-and-build theory.

I have learned that people are suitable to addiction when they rank high in any of the SURPS. I never realized that I could be subject to addiction based on my personality and that our personality and upbringing plays a role in how we react in social settings, relationships, etc. I know that seems obvious, but I never thought of personality in the way that it was explained in the lecture where it decides everything we do. It broadened my idea of personality and how environment plays a role in that.

I plan on being more aware of what I am doing and see what influences my behaviors or thoughts. I want to get my anxiety sensitivity down and will try and do that with mindfulness. When Dr.Vessileva lectured about SURPS and personality, it opened my eyes and made me want to know more about why I do things.

I chose the photo to the left because I think it encapsulates everything that I was talking about in regards to addictions, personality, and relationships. All those words play a role in how susceptible someone is to be addicted to something. Impulsivity, anxiety, and depression are caused inadaptive personality traits making them to defined as disorders. Almost all the words in the picture play a part in how people deal with relationships, how they act in relationships, and how relationship conflicts are causes.

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Hope and Happiness

Last class when Dr. Aziz talked about the different types of anxiety and symptoms of depression, it immediately made me connect the dots of Dr.Dick’s lecture about genetic influences. As Dr.Dick said, genetic influences account for 50% of our behavior and 40% is affected by our environment. It was interesting to think that half of our behavior is effect by something that is entirely out of our control, and if you are predisposed to depression and anxiety does that mean you are SOL? I think the answer to that is no. Mental illness isn’t a death sentence in my mind, and one shouldn’t treat it like as such. I remember Dr.Aziz talking about how we need to start treating mental illness as a physical illness, and therefore a sort of taboo comes with treating as mental illness. So, the first thing to do is get help. If you have those predisposed genes and you start exhibiting depressive and anxiety tendencies, one should get help. Medicine and therapy are a beautiful thing. Bouncing off of treatment, what we learned about our strength and weakness and the negativity cycle by Ms.Walsh and Dr. Worthington plays a role in how we can get out of those depressive states. If one focuses on only their weaknesses, they are more likely to project those deficiencies. It is all about the self-fulling prophecy theory in psychology- if you think you are going to do badly on a test, you will do worse than if you thought positively. I remember Dr.Aziz talking about a therapy based treatment used where they reteach you a way to think where you focus on strengths and the positive versus the negative. I think over the course of my life I have unconsciously adopted that coping mechanism.

I am unfortunately one of the people who have anxiety, depression, and ADHD in their genes, but throughout my life, with the help of modern medicine, I have been flourishing. Like in Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing, you can have a mental illness and still be flourishing. That was something that I found surprising with the Keye’s model is that you can be defined as not flourishing but also not have a mental illness, and vice versa. However, it wasn’t until when I took the VIA test that I realized medicine wasn’t the only thing that contributed to me being happy. I had always been pretty optimistic and positive; my slogan is “it is what it is,” but when I took the VIA strength survey I was pleasantly surprised when hope was ranked number one. Until I took that survey I never really realized how much hope I had. I realized that having hope for the future and being optimistic got me through most things in life. Easy or hard, that drive for the future and looking through things with a positive perspective helped make me the flourished person I am today.

Image source:

Reporter, Microsoft. Hope. Digital image. Microsoft News Centre Europe. Microsoft, 20 June 2017. Web. 1 Oct. 2017. <>.