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Do You Think You Have an Addictive Personality?

Do You Think You Have an Addictive Personality?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Do you think you have an addictive personality?

You are not alone. In fact, this is a highly common statement made specifically among those with a history of addictions. Some people believe they have a natural tendency to become addicted to stuff. However, is there any merit behind the concept of an addictive personality?

To understand the issue, we must understand how addiction is defined in the first place. Many disagree with what the core components of addiction are. Some argue that the word “addictive” is overused to the point that the word has lost its meaning. For example, the word ‘addictive’ can be used to describe a book or a dessert. Then, of course, addictions like drugs and pornography are on the more negative side of the spectrum.

Being enthusiastic about things is normal. The difference between addiction and high enthusiasm is that enthusiasm adds to life and addiction takes away from it. Therefore, a true addiction will accompany a variety of symptoms like withdrawals and unmanageability.

There is a variety of evidence that shows that people who have one addiction have a higher chance of having a co-occurring addiction. For example, there are many alcoholic gamblers or caffeine-addicted workaholics. It also is extremely common for a person to give up one addiction for another. This leads many to describe certain individuals as having an “addictive personality.”

But does this type of personality exist?

The answer is yes…and no. While there is no such thing as an “addictive personality,” per say, there are a variety of personality types that tend to be more vulnerable to addictions than others. There are also many pre-disposing factors for addictive behaviors such as genetic factors and psychological personality traits.

Here are a few personality traits of “Addictive personalities.”


Those prone to impulsiveness tend to operate without thinking of the consequences of their actions. While everyone succumbs to temptations now and then, those with impulsiveness struggle to say no or slow down when it comes to anything. A person who is impulsive will tend to overdo a lot of aspects of their lives. Impulsiveness increases a person’s vulnerability to addictive behaviors.

Sensation Seeking

Another personality trait is the type of person who constantly wants to try new things and experiences. While this can be a great trait to have, it can lead into trouble. This type of person loves to seek out new experiences, foods, and travel locations. However, this type of person also is very likely to try drugs or seek adrenaline in an extreme sport. The constant desire for new experiences can lead to abuse of drugs and alcohol. This increases the likelihood of addiction because this type of person may try a drug out of curiosity and eventually become dependent on that drug.

Social Alienation

Someone who lacks a consistent social group or the social connection may struggle with addiction because do not have people around them giving them feedback on their behavior. It can be difficult to control impulses and adhere to commitments without a social network.

Compulsive Behavior

The last trait is compulsivity. This type of person engages in activities despite the negative consequences. They are more likely to engage in “deviant” behavior because of their compulsive personality. Having a compulsive personality increases the likeliness of addiction.

The final personality trait often present in those with addictive personalities is compulsivity. Compulsive behavior refers to engaging in activities even when they may result in negative consequences. If you are already more likely to engage in “deviant” behavior due to an impulsive personality, sensation-seeking, placing value in nonconformity and a sense of social alienation, having a compulsive personality may make you even more likely to form an addiction.

So what does all of this mean? Essentially, having an “addictive personality” is not a genuine thing, however, many people have personality traits that will increase their vulnerability to addiction. Still, just because someone has these traits, it doesn’t mean they will become an addict.

Addiction stems from a variety of genetic and environmental circumstances.  That’s why it is so important to seek professionals in your fight to overcome your addiction. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance use disorder or mental illness, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

Author: Shernide Delva

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