What Is An Addictive Personality?

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An individual’s personality is what distinguishes him or her from others. American Psychological Association notes that the word personality “refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.” One’s personality is derived from a combination of innate inclinations and dispositions and is informed by external stimuli (e.g. environmental factors and experiences). An individual’s personality can shift over time, but research has found that one’s core personality traits generally remain consistent during adulthood. An addictive personality, according to Addiction Center, is “a personality that is more likely to become addicted to something.” Although there are a variety of different personality traits that are often associated with individuals who develop substance use disorder, the combination of traits can vary, as not all traits are present in every individual that struggles with addiction. Further, an article published in Scientific American, asserts that there is no single personality type that leads to addiction.  

High Risk Traits

There are certain traits that have been recognized in individuals who are considered to be at greater risk for developing substance use disorder, which can include the following, as provided by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Family history of substance use disorder (e.g. close biological relatives who have developed addiction)
  • Adrenalin seeking, adventurous and/ or risk-taking
  • Diagnosed with other mental health disorders
  • Apathetic
  • Unable to self-regulate
  • Disconnected and cautious
  • Obsessive and compulsive

It is important to note that not all individuals that have the above personality traits will unequivocally go on to develop an addiction. The precise scientific reason behind why an individual develops substance use disorder remains unknown.

Signs and Symptoms

Every person is different and individuals with an addictive personality are likely to exhibit a distinct set of signs and symptoms. Addiction Center compiled a list of commonly observed signs and symptoms, which could include any combination of the following:

  • Using alcohol to socialize or relax
  • Replacing sexual partners for a false sense of intimacy
  • Comfort eating/ binge eating
  • Compulsively checking one’s phone and/ or social media
  • Excessive shopping/ impulse buys
  • Gambling
  • Excessive risk taking
  • Self-medicating through the abuse of drugs and/ or alcohol
  • Obsessing
  • Feeling constantly unsatisfied
  • An inability to curtail harmful activities

The Mayo Clinic defines addiction as “a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.” An individual that is unable to create and honor healthy boundaries, and hides harmful behavior could be in need of professional support.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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