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Understanding the Traits of an Addictive Personality

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Dealing with addiction, whether you’re the person addicted or you’re someone trying to help, can be overwhelming and confusing for everyone involved. Especially if the person that requires help doesn’t realize they have a problem, it can be even more difficult to get them the help they need. And, if someone you love has an addictive personality, they could be at even higher risk for addiction to a variety of products including illegal drugs.

But what does someone that has an addictive personality look like? They’re not necessarily easy to spot unless you have cause for concern but there are a few things you can watch out for. The important thing is to be aware.

If you’re wondering how to define an addictive personality, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re discussing some traits that many people with addictive personalities possess. Keep reading to learn more.

9 Traits of an Addictive Personality

Addictions range from substances such as drugs and alcohol to events like sex and gambling. Regardless of how addictive or non-addictive a substance is, a person with an addictive personality disorder can easily turn a habit into something far more destructive.

Here are some of the most prevailing traits to look out for in someone that appears to be having a problem with addiction.

Brain Chemistry

One of the strongest debates in relation to addiction is whether it is a disease or a choice. The thing is, addiction has a lot to do with brain chemistry and familial genetics. Addictive personality traits don’t just appear on their own, rather they are coaxed by a developing brain.

Someone with family members that struggle with addiction is more likely to be influenced in such a way that their brain chemistry actually changes. This leads them to crave the substance that they may otherwise only have a habit with.


Another factor that influences addictive tendencies is the environment where the person lives.

It has often been noted that childhood plays a significant factor in whether or not someone will develop an addictive personality disorder. For example, a child living in a stress-free home with healthy parents and a relatively stable environment is far less likely to show signs of an addictive personality in their adult life. A child living in duress, on the other hand, may be more inclined to pick up the traits that lead to addiction.


One of the first things to watch out for in someone that suffers from an addictive personality disorder is the inability to self-regulate. This could be in relation to emotions, actions, or both depending on the severity of the condition.

Regulating thoughts, behaviors and feelings can be difficult for someone struggling with this disorder. It has been noted that this impulsivity may be caused by the anticipation of receiving a reward. Namely, this reward would be the substance of choice.


Someone with an addictive personality disorder may display traits of lying, manipulation, criminal behavior, blame shifting. They may also be more inclined to seek thrills that are out of the ordinary. This direct rebellion to conformity is comprised of a combination of addiction and dependence. Anyone suffering from addiction is actually dependent on the substance and therefore will do whatever it takes to continue gaining access to it.

Social Alienation

One of the first things you may notice in someone with an addictive personality disorder is their inability to function socially. This can often be discounted as anti-social behavior, but in reality, it’s a way for the person to avoid conflict relating to their problem.

It’s important to keep people that you’re concerned for in regular conversation. Also, engage them in events with a strong social presence.

Heightened Stress/Anxiety Levels

Addiction is not only caused by heightened levels of stress and anxiety but can also be a culprit. If you notice your friend or loved one exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety, it may be time to talk to them about their problems. These symptoms could be occurring due to other factors such as manipulative or impulsive behavior.

A person struggling with addiction is more likely to be on edge most of the time. Especially if they’re deeply involved with the addiction, an addict will be anxious when they’re without the substance in question. They’ll also be stressed about the next time they will be able to get it.

Poor Coping Skills

As someone struggles with stress and anxiety, so are they more likely to have problems coping with these emotions. A person with an addictive personality may not be able to notice their poor coping skills. Instead, they’ll rely on their emotions to help them cope with their problem.

You may notice anger, resentment, sadness, and other emotions pouring out at seemingly inappropriate times.


Depression is another sign to watch out for in someone with an addictive personality. This can stem from the stress and anxiety that they’re feeling in relation to their addiction. Or, it can be a direct cause of the addiction itself.

Depression is considered a mental health disorder in itself so it’s important to get help if you recognize this symptom in someone you love.

Mental Health Disorders

There is no such thing as an addictive personality treatment. However, there is help for mental health disorders which can be a leading cause of addictive personality disorders.

For example, schizophrenia has been linked with nicotine addiction. In some cases, experts believe that people suffering from an addictive personality disorder will ‘self-medicate’ in order to combat their own symptoms. This has been seen in patients suffering from schizophrenia and their addiction to nicotine.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the traits of an addictive personality should be met with compassion and concern. You should always approach friends and family with addictive concerns carefully in order to avoid conflict.

Many people with an addictive personality have developed a tolerance for deviance. This means they may become more easily aggravated about topics related to their problem.

The best thing you can do to help someone suffering from problems with addiction is to talk about the problem. Talking about addiction is the first step in recovery and may make it easier for you and the person suffering to get involved with a treatment program.

If you’re interested in a treatment program for yourself or someone you love, please, contact us. We’re here to help you through each step of the process on the road to recovery.

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