The phrase “addictive personality” gets tossed around a lot these days. But in reality, it isn’t what most people believe it means. The idea that someone can’t seem to kick a drug habit due to their addictive personality is not realistic. The concept of an addictive personality has a lot to do with what we hear from the media and reality.
Table of Contents
What is An Addictive Personality?
An addictive personality is not a medical diagnosis. Research says it’s a misnomer since there isn’t one personality type that’s more prone to addiction. Addiction and addictive personalities are not the same.
Underlying factors for getting carried away include anxiety, depression, poor impulse control. These are all behaviors that don’t have a direct relation to your personality.
Take Our “Do I Have an Addictive Personality” Quiz
Our free quiz takes less than five minutes to complete and will give you an idea of your personality. Please remember, this quiz is for educational purposes only. It’s not a diagnosis. Speak with a mental health professional to discuss any symptoms of addiction.
Do Addictive Behaviors Lead to Addiction?
Some people are more likely to develop a substance use disorder. We often blame their personalities for placing them at risk. But, research says it’s someone’s genes that increase their risk of addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) also includes having addicted parents or family members with mental health disorders. These things can make someone predisposed to having addictive traits and addiction. For example, growing up with parents that misused alcohol can increase your risk of struggle with alcohol abuse.
However, it’s impossible to pinpoint addiction to someone’s personality.
Risk Factors of Developing an Addictive Personality
Some personality traits can point to addiction, especially people who seek short-term thrills. People with a higher risk of addiction are:
- Related to others struggling with addiction
- Experience mental health disorders
- Risk takers
- Disconnected and cautious
- Obsessive and compulsive traits
- Mental Illness
- Unable to regulate themselves
- Using alcohol to socialize or relax
- Replacing sexual partners for a false sense of intimacy
- Use drugs for coping
- Never satisfied or needing more for a particular feeling
Other signs of addictive personalities include:
- Always wanting more
- Continuing despite consequences
- Not being able to follow the rules
- Obsessing about anything
- Replacing relationships with habits
Risk takers have poor impulse control. They’re also more likely to try addictive substances. Risk-taking personalities seek something that fuels them. A study suggests that they might have higher levels of dopamine in the brain.
This makes them have a lower sensitivity to dopamine’s effects. They need more intense experiences to feel the pleasure that dopamine causes. They need higher doses to experience the same feelings as those with normal dopamine levels.
Also known as the disconnected trait, these individuals have difficulty with social interactions. At the same time, they may suffer from anxiety, depression, or both. Most of the time, they will medicate and manage their symptoms with alcohol or drugs.
Their medication practice builds up their tolerance and could lead them to addiction.
The closest trait to an “addictive personality.” People think addiction is only related to a lack of impulse control. When they can’t control their impulses, they turn to addictive activities or substances. The goal is to maintain an obsessive and compulsive behavioral pattern.
Addiction becomes a compulsion to use the substances rather than an urge to try something new. The obsessive often maintain habitual behaviors that are likely to develop an addiction.
Healthy Ways to Manage an Addictive Personality
There’s more than genetics and environmental factors for addiction. Researchers believe not managing these behaviors can lead to addiction. Today, we know that addiction is a progressive and complex brain disease that has no single cause.
There are ways to manage these impulses for someone who has difficulty with them. Whether it’s compulsive comfort eating, obsession with social media, or gambling, these tactics can help:
- Practice mindfulness meditation, yoga, relaxation, exercise, and other therapeutic activities.
- Connect with others that have shared interests or enjoyable activities.
- Avoid using sex, shopping, or other substitutes to bolster your self-esteem.
- Experiment with different activities and reward mechanisms whenever you feel bored.
- Seek excitement through healthy activities like traveling, hobbies, or setting goals for yourself.
- Beware of the warning signs of drug abuse or alcohol addiction and seek help when needed.
People with addictions are often the last person to realize it — if they do. When someone is aware of their substance use problem, it’s taken a toll on their lives.
Addiction is often a band-aid on a more serious underlying problem. The key to addressing addiction is finding the underlying causes.
Behavioral therapies, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals struggle with these issues. This allows people to learn healthy ways to manage addictive behaviors. For people with a substance use disorder, rehab will likely include these therapies along with other evidence-based treatments. Rehab can be effective at achieving long-term sobriety.
This approach can help with substance or behavioral problems. Treatment to control personality traits reduces the risk of relapse. It’s less likely for them to engage in risky behavior after leaving rehab.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the time to seek help is now. This is true with personality disorders that worsen with time.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our substance abuse treatment programs offer a comprehensive approach. We incorporate behavioral therapies and drug addiction treatment. The goal is to address addiction from a physical, mental, and emotional perspective.
Whether you’re dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, or a behavioral addiction, call 866-308-2090 today and complete a complimentary assessment to help you get started.