Addictive Personalities

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Posted by Todd ( on November 08, 2000 at 13:06:16:

The 'old-timers' will remember that I was once a leading proponent of the 'addictive personality' theory. Our stats on cigarette usage makes a strong case for this, buoyed by the many anecdotal examples folks have shared here.

At this point, however, we cannot substantiate such a belief. A study done by ICECH and originally published (in part) in 1995 fails to demonstate a personality deviation between a study group of 120 CH'rs and 120 matched controls.

To be specific, this group was administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), long considered the psychological benchmark. A graph of the results for the primary scales reproduced in "Cluster Headache & Related Conditions", edited by Jes Olesen and Peter J. Goadsby, reveals that the CH group tracks the control group almost exactly, with both groups falling within the accepted 'normal' range on all scales.

One footnote is required here: This particular printing of the study listed ONLY the primary scales - not the Supplemental Scales. Supplemental scale MAC/MAC-R was not printed. MAC/MAC-R is the scale which most specifically focuses on addictive aspects of personality. When Riccardo returns, perhaps he can contact ICECH and see if they even ran this sub-scale.

Please don't consider this a contradiction of, or a backing down from, my earlier post regarding narcotics. In that post I cited another study which concluded that CH'rs have a tendency to overindulge in certain habits. The medical professionals who conducted that study are making a clear, but subtle, distinction - it is possible to 'overindulge' without necessarily having an addictive personality. As it was not a focus of their study to determine whether or not we have addictive personalities, any other conclusion would have been careless research.

I'm not ready to totally abandon the addictive personality theory, but I felt it important to point out that it is not presently substantiated by any research I have been able to locate.

Now if only those other 1,000 people would join OUCH, maybe we could get the research done! :-)

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