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Top five signs that you’re addicted to drama

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There are some people whose lives seem to always be full of more drama than you get in a TV series. We all know someone like this – or perhaps on reading this you realize you are a drama addict.

By drama, we mean “an exciting, emotional or unexpected event or circumstance”. For drama addicts make it plural as it’s never just one dramatic event or circumstance.

They are at least one after the other. More often than not one leads to another and frequently the dramas of their life overlap.

Each new drama that arises has to be juggled with those that already exist. Soon the drama of keeping up with all the dramas becomes its own drama.

Why are some people addicted to drama?

Why on earth would anyone be addicted to such chaos? Don’t we all just crave order in our life, some peace and quiet?

This is clearly not the case for some people. The reason they need drama is generally because it’s a distraction from looking at the issues that really need to be looked at by them.

If a drama addict had peace and quiet, then all the memories and feelings they know are there would come rushing to the surface. Those memories and feelings seem too unbearably painful to face.

It is often also that the thought of looking at them is terrifying. Another aspect is that people know deep down it’s going to require a great amount of energy and effort from them if they do look.

Given these options, they see it that another new drama is preferable. Of course, it is unlikely that the person is consciously aware of any of this – but it is realized and that is why there’s such relentless drama in their life.

Drama is their norm

Many people who are addicted to drama also grew up in chaotic households. It’s all they know and consequently they cannot even comprehend the word serenity.

So being in a peaceful place – although much better for them – means facing the unknown. “Better the devil you know” seems to be behind their fervent affair with drama.

Many of those people who are addicted to drama are also addicted to other things as a way of distracting, masking and/or numbing memories, thoughts and feelings that make them extremely uncomfortable or that cause deep-down pain.

This pain – such as from trauma, toxic shame and a failure of love in some way – is often long buried. In their repeated attempts to keep it pushed down, there might be a drink or drug addiction

Or there might be one or more behavioral addictions such as to exercise, shopping, love, sex, gambling, work or the internet. Anyone who becomes dependent on alcohol, drugs or a behavioral addiction will act irrationally to get their “fix”.

If they are under the influence there are more likely to be dramatic incidents. It is behind many if not all of their numerous arguments, fights or accidents.

As well there’s much more likelihood of money problems and a lack of time to do everyday things that need to be done such as parenting and food shopping. Then new dramas will arise from missing their responsibilities.

But even drama addicts will at some point usually get sick and tired of all the chaos that follows them around. If as often happens the dramas come thicker and faster and then such as hospitals and the police get involved, it really is time to make big changes.

How to spot a drama addict

1. Always posting about their latest dramas on social media

It’s one thing to have these dramas but a drama addict will immediately, often while the drama is ongoing, be posting or planning to post about it on social media. So expect photos, videos and long posts that frequently rant on about some injustice or incident.

These are posted on the likes of Facebook or Twitter so that the drama continues for as long as possible due to the comments and attention that’s given to it. It’s the same reason some people write enigmatic posts that only say such as “I’m in hospital” or simply put up a photo of an injury.

If on rare occasions nothing has happened to them they can always turn to family members, other friends or the news. Sometimes something dramatic happens to someone else, maybe even someone who they hardly know, and they make the drama about themselves.

Or they announce dramatic claims that go against established facts or that are blatantly over the top. Then there is likely to be someone who attempts to discuss or dispute what the drama addict is saying – and that creates a whole new drama in itself.

2. Nearly always someone’s else’s fault…

People who are addicted to drama always seem to have an astounding capacity for missing the fact that they are nearly always at the centre of every single one of their dramatic incidents. It seems to continually be the case, in their eyes, that they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Or that they were picked on for some reason or that people always seem to want a row with them… They never seem to connect any of this to their behavior, such as from being drunk.

It can only be hoped that one day they do realize they are the common denominator in it all. Then it is hoped that they can ask for help.

3. Experts at making molehills into mountains

Drama addicts would be fantastic at writing Hollywood scripts! Their imagination for what might happen – but in their eyes, it definitely will happen – knows no bounds. 

They will automatically go to the worst-case scenario and as they say it aloud it is as if it has already happened. There is a huge gap between what is going on in their mind and the actual reality.

But when a feeling is created by what they are thinking it will then negatively impact on their next thoughts. This then changes their behaviour as it will likely have led to feelings of despair, frustration, anxiety, fear or anger.

It’s a vicious circle and one that is increasingly difficult to escape from unless professional help is sought.

4. Find it difficult let go or forgive

Whether the dramas have actually happened or are what they perceive will happen, a drama addict will find it extremely hard to stop it spinning around in their mind. This is why people close to them are likely to repeatedly hear about it – whether that is face to face or via social media.

Unless there’s a drama going on a person addicted to drama finds it really hard to be in the now. This goes with the fact that somewhere buried deep down a drama addict will know there are real matters that need to be looked at.

If the present drama is resolved, what then? So they carry on the drama with all its resentments and lack of forgiving for as long as possible – and definitely until the next drama comes along to carry on this destructive pattern.

5. Relationships are never smooth

If a drama addict ever met someone with whom they had a calm relationship they would rock the boat to create a storm. A peaceful relationship is just so unfamiliar.

They crave the drama to keep their painful feelings at bay. So their mind will be looking at things – anything – that could disturb the peace.

Coupled with this is the fact that the low of splitting up and the high of starting a new relationship can be addictive to those craving drama. One allows for wallowing in self-pity and the other the buzz of “falling in love” – both a form of drama.

So with a drama addict, there will always be lots of up/down and on/off relationships.

A drama addict is also an expert at finding new people to take their dramas to if some people finally pull away or make it clear they’ve had enough. For this reason, a drama addiction can lead to similar dismal places that any addiction does.

That is a dark place of isolation with no money, no job, no relationship – and eventually no hope for the future.

But drama addicts can learn new ways so that life becomes calmer. It most likely means having to look into their past. 

But the inner peace and serenity that comes is something many people in recovery love most of all.

Without all that energy being used up on all that drama, people also discover a new vitality. This means they can get on with much more enjoyable and fulfilling things in life.

Our experienced team has decades of expertise in treating every mental health issue, including all addictions. We offer personalized one-on-one treatments that will give you or someone you care about the swiftest and most enduring recovery.

We are situated in the ideal natural setting to enhance health and wellbeing. Our luxury mansion by our beautiful tranquil lake is created with total relaxation in mind. Here in Florida we also have sunshine and warmth all year.

Contact us now to find out how we can help.

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David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, Psychologies, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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