A man has three balls hit him in the head to symbolize self destructive behavior

Alcoholism and drug addiction are both chronic fatal diseases, that when left untreated ultimately result in death. Both diseases over time destroy the body, mind, and soul when left unchecked. Alcoholism and addiction can be seen as a form of self-destructive behavior.

Here we take a look at self-destructive behaviors and the role they play in alcoholism and addiction.

What is self-destructive behavior?

Self-destructive behavior is defined as any behavior that could potentially be harmful to the A woman engages in self destructive behaviorperson who engages in it. These behaviors typically provide some sort of pleasure or relief for the individual, but ultimately prove to be harmful. Self-destructive behavior varies in severity on a continuum, with suicide being the most extreme example. (1)

What are some examples of self-destructive behavior?

Self-destructive behaviors are characterized as any behavior that, despite possibly feeling good, ultimately causes harm in the long run. Drug addiction and alcoholism is a classic example of this. (2)

Some other common examples of self-destructive behavior include (3):

  • Compulsive gambling
  • Philandering
  • Stealing
  • Smoking
  • Over-eating
  • Cutting
  • Road rage
  • Clinging to unhealthy relationships
  • Procrastination

What causes self-destructive behavior?

There are many theories as to why self-destructive behaviors occur in certain individuals. Some of these behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, are fairly straightforward- they provide a chemical relief in the individual. Other behaviors, such as cutting and stealing, are harder to explain.

One study shows that those who experienced trauma in early childhood are more likely to exhibit self-destructive behaviors. (4) Another study found that those who exhibit strong emotions tend to be more inclined to have self-destructive behaviors. (5)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-006X.47.2.343
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/490885