Addictive Tendencies: Can You Spot an Addict Before Drugs?

addictive tendencies

Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.

Published on Aug 18, 2015 | Getting Help For Myself

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Addictive Tendencies At Adolescence

addictive tendencies

Addiction is a progressive disease. This means that over time it gets worse, not better. However, there’s a bright side to addiction being progressive.

Potential addicts and alcoholics often exhibit addictive tendencies from a young age. If a child begins to show these traits, it’s a good bet they’ll struggle with addiction later in life. Although it’s not guaranteed, these tendancies can allow for early intervention and education to prevent addiction.

Tell-Tale Signs and Behaviors

  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors
  • Engaging in delinquent behavior
  • Aggression towards others
  • Rebelling against authority figures
  • Trouble managing relationships
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Find Out How to Tell if Your Child is an Alcoholic

The Number One Warning Sign

Drug and alcohol use is common during adolescence. Many, if not all, teenagers are unaware of the seriousness of abusing drugs during such a pivotal time in cognitive development. If a teenager is abusing drugs, well, there’s a much higher chance they’ll struggle with addiction down the road.

In fact, almost all addicts report that they began to use during adolescence. Teenage drinking, using, or experimenting with prescription pills is a pretty good sign of future addiction.

Genetic Factors

Genetics plays a huge role in childhood and adolescent development. A family history of addiction makes it much more likely a child will end up addicted to themselves. In fact, science has discovered a direct link between addiction and genetics. Genetics accounts for approximately 50% of an individual’s likelihood to be an addict.

Is Addiction a disease?


Trauma also plays a large role in telling if someone will develop addiction issues. According to the National Trauma Consortium, 90% of female alcoholics were physically, emotionally, or sexually abused as children.

Children growing up in unstable homes often don’t learn healthy coping mechanisms. Because the child never learned how to deal with struggles in a healthy way, they’re prone to turn to drugs and alcohol as a solution to problems.

Individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at risk for addiction as well. PTSD sufferers have been known to use drugs and alcohol to numb anxiety, fear, and emotional pain.

What are Some Personality Traits of Addicts?

  • Perfectionist
  • Black and white thinker
  • Risk-taker
  • Prone to anxiety
  • Impulsive
  • Low self-esteem
  • Arrogant
  • Resentful
  • Unable to forgive
  • Angry
  • Demanding
  • Non-conformist
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Discontent
  • Victim mentality
  • Defensive
  • Fearful
  • Withdrawn
  • Compulsive liar

Early signs of addiction can be detected and worked on through therapy and education. If your child exhibits any of these early signs, this is not a means to worry, rather a means to take action. An early introduction to addiction treatment could prove beneficial in the long run. Addiction education is the best possible option for ensuring someone with addictive tendencies doesn’t engage in drug abuse!

Cite This Article
Lighthouse Editorial Team. "Addictive Tendencies: Can You Spot an Addict Before Drugs?." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on Aug 18, 2015,


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