Signs of an Addictive Personality

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Signs of an Addictive Personality

Many people today have a subconscious image of what an “addictive personality” looks like.  But, are certain personality types more prone to becoming addicts, or is this a myth?  Experts caution against the idea of thinking one particular personality type leads to addiction.  In fact, most addicts have their own set of traits and other factors that contributed to their use of drugs or alcohol.   Below are some of the signs of an addictive personality and why a person may be more likely to become addicted to a substance.

Traits That Signify a High-Risk for Addiction

Addiction is not something we can predict.  However, these traits indicate a high-risk potential.

People with this high risk for addiction can display the following traits:

  • Relatives who are addicts
  • Mental health disorders
  • Unable to self-regulate
  • Risk-taking or adventurous behavior
  • Cautious or disconnected, apathetic
  • Obsessive and compulsive

Let’s take a look at each of these traits to better understand why a person may be prone to addiction or how they may develop signs of an addictive personality.

Related to Others Who are Addicted

Studies show that having close family members who struggle with addictions increases the likelihood that an individual will develop an addiction.  Genetic makeup does have some effect on a person being at high risk of addiction, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The goal of the study was to de-stigmatize addiction and help addicts get more prompt treatment.  However, other factors such as environment, physical and mental health, peer pressure, and stress can contribute to a person’s substance abuse.

Experiencing Mental Health Disorders

Another factor that contributes to a person’s high risk of addiction is the presence of pre-existing mental health disorders. People with mental health conditions are more likely to self-medicate.

The disorders can include the following:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, panic disorder
  • Antisocial personality
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia

The presence of one of the above disorders fuels an addiction in many cases.  For treatment to be effective, the program must treat both conditions simultaneously.

Unable to Self-Regulate

One common trait among addicts is their inability to regulate their behavior, feelings, and thoughts.  This trait also makes it difficult for the person to moderate their substance use. In other words, dopamine sensitivity contributes to this diminished sense of control, according to researchers.

Risk-Taking or Adventurous Behavior

Research shows that a person with a risk-taking personality is more likely to experiment with drugs.  They enjoy new experiences and have little impulse control. These traits are linked to a person’s levels of dopamine and the brain’s sensitivity to it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).

Cautious, Disconnected, or Apathetic

Men are usually the bold, risk-taker personality type, and women are cautious, depressed, or anxious personality type, according to researchers.  People with these traits are more likely to use drugs or alcohol to dull their feelings, and this is known as self-medication. This behavior often leads to dependence or addiction.

Obsessive, Compulsive Traits

Although addiction occurs when people lack impulse control, the opposite can be true.  For instance, self-controlled or rigid people use substances because of their obsessive-compulsive behavior patterns.  In other words, a person with habitual behaviors is as likely to develop addiction as someone who is unable to control their impulses.

Learn More About the Signs of an Addictive Personality

Of course, most Americans love their quick-fix, instant gratification lifestyle.  Rather than make gradual, healthy changes in their diet and lifestyle, it’s easier to take a pill or drink some alcohol.  This is dangerous behavior for a person with an addictive personality because they begin to rely on the substance for their “happiness.”  They feel lifeless, unmotivated, and depressed when the substance of choice is withheld.  Eventually, they need the substance just to feel “normal,” and a vicious cycle begins that requires professional intervention to stop.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.  We offer a treatment approach that can treat both the addiction and the underlying mental or emotional issues that are keeping you addicted.  Call now to learn more about the signs of an addictive personality and the program options we offer.  A Forever Recovery can help you get started on your personalized treatment plan right away.


  • – Genes and Addictions
  • – Drugs and the Brain

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