What is an Addictive Personality?

Why is it that some people can experiment with drugs and not get addicted while others do? Or how come some people can enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and feel content while others can’t stop drinking? It’s something that researchers have been trying to find the answer to for decades.

Drugs and alcohol are addictive substances, and people respond differently to them. Some people get hooked rather quickly and are considered to have “addictive personalities”.

Of course, this does not mean that those without addictive personalities can’t develop an addiction. Any time you use drugs or alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk for dependency.

So what exactly does it mean to have an addictive personality?

Defining an Addictive Personality

An addictive personality is a set of personality traits that make a person more susceptible to addiction. It doesn’t have to be a substance abuse problem specifically. It could be any type of addiction such as gambling, pornography, or smoking.

When a person with these traits uses drugs or alcohol, the effects are more pleasurable and profound. This individual is also more likely to use substances to deal with stress and anxiety.

Personality Traits of Interest

The personality traits that are most commonly associated with addictive personalities include:

    • Impulsivity

Acting without thinking about the consequences of the actions.

    • Sensation Seeking

Craving new experiences. Sensation-seeking individuals may be more likely to experiment with drugs, and later, develop a dependency on them.

    • Nonconforming

Those who do not value conformity can be more at risk for developing an addiction. They may not realize or care when the drugs begin affecting their life.

    • Social Isolation

Not having a consistent group of connections can lead to loneliness and isolation.

    • Compulsivity

Engaging in activities that may end in negative consequences.

What if You Have an Addictive Personality?

Many people have one or more of the above traits and are not prone to addiction. It is the combination of these traits that make it more likely for someone to have an addictive personality.

Let’s be clear: Having an addictive personality does not mean that you are an addict. All it means is that you need to be more aware of the choices you make and how you react to situations where drugs or alcohol are involved.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, call The River Source. We have a number of recovery programs, including our inpatient, intensive outpatient, and day programs. We don’t just help people get clean and sober. We give them the tools to lead a fulfilling, rewarding life that is free from the burdens of drugs and alcohol.


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