Personality profiles of individuals with mental health disorders differ significantly from those without an illness. This is often the case because personality patterns change when a person’s mood, anxiety, or other condition is treated.
Among the most well-known and widely used personality models are the “Big Five” traits, which include neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. These dimensions can be helpful tools for identifying the personality profiles of substance users, as they have been linked to various psychopathological conditions.
The personality trait neuroticism is critical in understanding the personal profiles of individuals with mental health disorders. People with high neuroticism tend to experience negative emotions and are prone to various symptoms such as anxiety, self-doubt, depression, and anger.
Neuroticism is one of the fundamental domains of general personality within the five-factor model or Big Five2. It is heritable, temporal stable, and universally present in human populations.
People with high neuroticism are likelier in long-term negative emotional states, respond poorly to environmental distress, interpret ordinary situations threateningly, and experience minor pain as highly overwhelming. They also have a greater tendency to exhibit excessive fearfulness and self-consciousness and experience elevated levels of irritability and anxiety.
Extraversion is a personality trait that determines how you interact with the external world. Those with high levels of extraversion are outgoing, talkative, gregarious, and energized by social interactions.
Individuals with low levels of extraversion may find large social gatherings to be a drain on their energy. Instead, they may prefer to stay with a few close friends and explore different hobbies.
Researchers have found that people tend to adopt traits of extraversion (even if they are introverted) when it’s necessary to accomplish goals. Often, they’re trying to make new friends, break out of their routine, or command attention and leadership.
Agreeableness is one of the five super personality factors associated with a heightened capacity for getting along well with others. It also makes people feel more empathetic and understanding of others’ feelings.
However, agreeableness can indicate a psychological disorder such as autism or bipolar disorder. Individuals with these conditions are less cooperative and compassionate towards others and may mistrust them.
Agreeableness is a complex trait that can be affected by genetics and personal experience. For instance, a spiritual believer or someone who has experienced adversities could be more agreeable.
A strong conscience is an important personality trait that enables individuals to make decisions based on understanding and caring. It is one of the most common and well-respected personality traits in psychology and reflects a fundamental moral intuition.
People with high conscientiousness are organized, focused, and self-disciplined. They are also likely to take care of their physical health, which can lead to better mental and overall health.
On the other hand, people with low conscientiousness are more likely to follow their impulses without thinking about the consequences. This can be a problem when deciding what to eat or drink, leading to negative habits that impact their physical and mental health.
Openness to Experience
Openness to experience is a personality trait that refers to someone’s receptivity to new ideas and experiences. This trait is one of the five core personality dimensions driving behavior– the Big 5.
Individuals with high openness to experience are curious and enjoy trying new things and learning about different ideas. They also pay more attention to their inner feelings than people with low transparency.
Both genetics and environmental factors influence this trait, often called the nature-nurture debate in psychology. This debate focuses on whether a person’s psychological tendencies are mostly heritable or are shaped by their environment and experience.