Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Authored by Hugh Soames

Edited by Alexander Bentley

Reviewed by Philippa Gold

What is Addictive Personality Disorder?


The term ‘addictive personality disorder’ is used a lot in modern society to describe someone that gets “hooked” on a substance or activity very easily. It is believed that there are people that become addicted very easily after short-term exposure to substances, activities, and/or events. This belief is especially true for individuals when they use alcohol and/or drugs, as many people believe their personality makes them instantly addicted.


The psychiatric medical community does not use addictive personality disorder as an actual diagnosis for patients. According to Dr. Michael Weaver, medical director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, personalities are extremely complex and there is not one person’s personality that is more likely to be addictive than another individual’s personality.


Still, there are some aspects of a person’s make-up and life that could make them more likely to become addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. Some experts are also starting to float the idea that addictive tendencies are genetic, and are developing DNA tests for addiction. Research within the medical community is still ongoing, but there are somethings that have been learned about addiction.

What risk factors may lead to addiction?


A person addicted to alcohol and/or drugs may have risk factors in their lives that lead them down the pathway of addiction. There are a few risk factors associated with addiction and rather than having an addictive personality disorder, these could be the reason a person gets hooked to a substance.




Genetics could play a big role in addiction. Research has found that there is more than a 50% possibility that a person’s addiction stems from their genetic makeup.


According to Dr. Weaver, genetic makeup has been proven time and time again as a strong possibility for addiction. Children that come from a history of addiction have a good chance of becoming addicts themselves. Of course, this doesn’t always occur and genetics alone does not mean an individual is automatically an alcohol and/or drug addict.




Along with genetics, a person’s environment plays a large part in whether or not someone becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol. A child that watches their mother or father consume drink and drugs has a strong possibility of doing the same when they grow older.


Exposure to alcohol and/or drugs can lead to a person’s addiction in the future. If an individual is never exposed to substances or around them, it is impossible to become an addict. Yet, if the same person lives everyday with alcohol and drugs around them at home, school, and/or work, there is a chance they too will become addicted.


Once again, just because a person lives in an environment that experiences addiction, it doesn’t mean they will become addicts themselves. However, living in an environment of addiction of emotional neglect can fuel further addiction in future generations.


There are a few environmental factors that can add to the possibility of a person becoming addicted. These include:


  • Parents
  • Friends
  • Personality disorders
  • Education and activities
  • Stress
  • Social support
  • Town, neighborhood, and region a person lives in
  • Anxiety
  • Seeking a way out of circumstances
  • Burnout
  • The availability of alcohol and drugs
  • Depression


It is important to note that addiction is a disease. It develops like most other medical illnesses. A person with an underlying genetic weakness to addiction may be more susceptible if they are exposed to an environment that breeds it.


Emotional and mental health


Since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, the medical community is discovering more information about the role emotional and mental health play in everyday life. While it was previously known that keeping emotional and mental health at high levels was important, research has found out that these two aspects may have more of an impact then once believed in a person’s social and physical well-being.


Addiction can be caused by a person’s emotional and mental health state. If these are low, it is possible that addiction is more likely to occur. An individual with an emotional or mental health illness is more likely to develop a substance addiction to cope with the disorder.


The most common mental health disorders that could trigger addictions are:


  • Depression
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Physical, emotional and/or mental trauma
  • Dopamine deficiency
  • Serotonin Syndrome


When these issues are present, a person has a dual diagnosis, also known as a co-occurring disorder. The good news for individuals suffering with addiction is that many high-quality rehabs are able to treat both substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

What are the signs of addiction?


There are some specific signs of addiction that occur in people in need of alcohol or drugs. These signs also show up in people addicted to other things such as sex, pornography, videogames, and more.


The signs of addiction include:


  • Obsessing over the substance
  • Always wanting more
  • Lying about using the substance or being addicted to it
  • Manipulation of others to help fuel their addiction
  • Criminal behavior
  • Continuing to use a substance despite negative effects
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Not taking responsibility
  • Revolving, unsteady relationships
  • Seeking sensation and satisfaction
  • Neuroticism
  • Keeping secrets
  • Taking risks


How to avoid becoming an addict


A person with an addictive personality disorder will attempt to replace one addiction with another. This may simply lead to further addiction and health problems.


There are some ways to avoid becoming an addict. For example:


  • Avoid eating for comfort
  • Avoid drinking to socialize with others
  • Avoid constantly checking social media, email, etc.
  • Avoid self-medicating or using pills or marijuana for relaxation
  • Don’t avoid quitting due to its difficulty
  • Seek help from professionals


A person doesn’t have to hit rock bottom to realize that they need help. While a person may have a personality that craves more, they do not have to live an unhealthy lifestyle. Personality doesn’t determine a person’s future.


Residential rehab facilities are able to help individuals struggling with addictive personality disorder to end their addictions and receive treatment for co-occurring disorders. Once the addiction and co-occurring disorder is treated, individuals are able to live highly productive lives.


The first step to getting help is acknowledging that there is a problem. Once the problem is acknowledged, a residential rehab can provide the professional help needed for healing.


Previous: 10 Most Common Personality Disorder Types You Will Meet

Next: Histrionic Personality Disorder

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