Addictive personality and its counterpart in Indian psychology

Savita Deo & Nirmala Kulkarni
Pune University

Addiction, also known as substance dependence (APA, 1994), may be of drug, alcohol, tobacco or gambling, and is one of the prominent and burning issues of society everywhere in the world. What type of individuals take to addiction is the basic reason to study the personality of addicts. Particularly, when the young generation is becoming a victim of addiction on a large scale, it is necessary to study why certain people are becoming the victims of addiction and not others. Therefore, it is necessary to understand whether there are any personality traits that make an individual addiction prone. In the Western trait psychology, personality types are described in terms of three factors, five factors and sixteen factors theory mainly. Indian psychology describes personality in terms of the Guna theory -- Sattva, Rajas and Tamas where Tamas is at the lower end of the Guna theory. Hence, in the present paper an attempt is made to compare and contrast the description of personality types given in Indian and Western trait psychology with special reference to addictive personality. For Indian description of personality, we have delimited ourselves to Samkhya and Yoga theories. An effort is made to find out whether and to what extent Tamas personality closely resembles Western trait psychology.

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This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002