Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Can You Have An Addictive Personality

Overworking And Work Addictions

Do you have an addictive personality?

The concept of being a workaholic is often something that is made light of in todays society where everyone has to work hard to make a living however, being a workaholic is just as dangerous as being any other type of addict. An individual with addictive personality disorder may find that they experience a high or a feeling of great release when they are working and as such they are always working in an attempt to chase that high. While the negative effects of overworking are often not as apparent as the negative effects of an eating disorder or a drug abuse problem, they can be just as significant. An individual who chronically overworks can find themselves neglecting their own personal health, their own family members and their basic human needs such as food and socialization. It may not seem like such a significant impact to be a workaholic, but workaholics can quickly find themselves without a family member to turn on, with significant health concerns as a result of a lack of medical care and without anyone to turn to when things become too rough because they have neglected all of their friends and family.

The Desire For Risk And Feeling

Those with addictive personalities may feel an innate desire to try out things that can turn into addictions. While its OK to be bold and leave your comfort zone, theres a point where it becomes destructive, and thats a line many with addictive personalities dont see. Here are some traits of this variety common in addictive personalities:

Do You Have An Addictive Personality

The addictive personality is something that has often been mentioned, especially with regard to alcohol and drug use issues. You can struggle with addiction to many things, not all of them necessarily harmful. Despite the way it sounds, there is no one definitive addictive personality. Having these traits does not sentence a person to a life of substance abuse. It gives you the foresight to avoid things that may become a problem and recognize a problem should one arise.

At Red Oak Recovery, were committed to providing mens addiction treatment to help young adults overcome their unique challenges. Through psychotherapy and other treatment options, you can take control of your life again. To learn more, please contact Red Oak Recovery today at .

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What Are Addictive Behaviors

Being able to identify addictive behaviors is an important part of being able to help a loved one who appears to have an addictive personality disorder. As mentioned above, many people often believe that addictive behaviors are limited to extreme drug abuse however, this is simply not true. Addictive behaviors are wide-ranging and incorporate a significant number of actions which are not always easily identified by family members as being problem behaviors.

The Difference For Addicts

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

But there are two key considerations when it comes to people with SUDs.

FIRST, alcohol and psychoactive drugs dont just prompt a release of dopamine they trigger a MASSIVE surge of intense pleasure. There is a measurable comparison. For example, researchers at UCLA determined that orgasm releases 200 units of dopamine.

But among addictive substances, the dopamine spike can be much, much higher:

  • Morphine 100-150 units
  • Cocaine 100-350 units
  • Methamphetamine up to 1250 units

Dr. Richard Rawson, Ph.D., an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLAs David Geffen School of Medicine, describes it perfectly, saying:

This produces an extreme peak of euphoria that people describe as something like theyve never experienced, and they probably never have experienced before because the brain really isnt made to do this. And thats why people will be attracted to it and want to take it over and over and over again.

SECOND, the latest evidence indicates that while addicts may want these pleasurable sensations more than other people, they actually enjoy them less, because of a blunted response to reward.

The artificially-elevated dopamine levels resulting from chronic substance abuse eventually impairs the bodys reward system. A habitual user will develop a tolerance to their drug of choice, meaning they will need ever-increasing amounts in order to experience the same pleasurable effects.

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Can An Addictive Personality Ever Be A Good Thing

Surprisingly, certain addictive personality traits can contribute to being a good leader. While at first glance, this might seem contradictory, the truth is that many pioneering leaders are also risk-takers who are never satisfied with the status quo.

There is a long list of people who were innovators and leaders in their chosen fields, even while they battled addictive disorders:

Experiencing Other Mental Health Disorders

Along with the genetic connection, another individual health trait that can correspond with a higher risk of addiction is the presence of pre-existing mental health disorders. People who struggle with various mental health conditions can be more likely to abuse and become dependent on substances. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders
  • Anxiety or panic disorder

For example, as explained by Brain Facts, multiple studies over the last decades have demonstrated a strong link between schizophrenia and addiction to nicotine. In fact, it has been shown that nicotine can even temporarily lessen some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. The use of cigarettes to manage these symptoms is a phenomenon known as self-medication, which is a common source of substance abuse that later becomes addiction.

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Personality Traits And Addiction

Addiction is defined by scholars as a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by persistent use of drugs despite substantial harm and adverse consequences”. Substance-based addictions are those based upon the release of dopamine in the brain, upon which the range of sensations produced by the euphoric event in the brain changes the brains immediate behavior, causing more susceptibility for future addictions. Behavior-based addictions, on the other hand, are those that are not linked to neurological behavior as much and are thus thought to be linked to personality traits it is this type of addiction that combines a behavior with a mental state and the repeated routine is therefore associated with the mental state.

Related To Others With Addiction

Do I Have An addictive Personality? If So, How Does This Affect My Recovery?

There is no question that genetic makeup has at least some effect on a persons risk of developing addiction. As described by many studies, including one from the journal Psychiatry, having a close family member who is struggling with an addiction can make it more likely that an individual will develop an addiction as well.

In fact, certain portions of the human genome have even been identified as having a direct connection to specific addictions, according to a study in Nature. With this knowledge, it may be possible in the future to more accurately identify just how likely a person is to develop addiction. Still, genetic potential is no guarantee that an individual will develop addiction. Other complex, environmental factors also contribute to the potential that a genetic predisposition will become a true substance use disorder.

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The Difference Between An Addictive Personality And Addiction

More than anything, it is important to know that having an addictive personality or a family history of addiction does not automatically mean that you will turn into an addict yourself.

That said, having an addictive personality could be a precursor to addiction. If you know that a family member has struggled with substance abuse, it is a good idea to watch your own relationship with alcohol and drugs. Similarly, if you begin to see yourself abusing substances it is better to just quit using them altogether.

It is not easy to answer exactly what causes an addictive personality but if you find that you are prone to addiction, you can successfully equip yourself to avoid the consequences of addiction.

What Causes An Addictive Personality

In addition to the traits listed above, a variety of other traits tend to have a higher prevalence among addicted individuals. For example, people with addiction:

  • Might be impulsive. They are sometimes described as erratic or spontaneous.
  • Seek out situations that fulfill an emotional need for new or varied experiences.
  • Have negative effects. This means they turn to alcohol or other substances to manage negative emotions, such as stress, anger, or sadness.
  • Have negative urgency. This means they have a difficult time managing stress in a healthy manner.
  • Are neurotic or have a high level of neuroticism. Challenges cause them to express sadness, anger, anxiety, and irritability.
  • Are disagreeable. Addicts tend to be selfish, less friendly, and uncooperative.
  • Are more aggressive. They tend to act out in violent and hostile manners toward others.

Again, its important to note that anyone with the genetic makeup and experiences that increases the risk of substance use disorder can develop an addiction. The above-listed traits seem to occur more frequently among people with addiction, which led to the misconception of an addictive personality.

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How Can You Help

It comes down to self-awareness of your own addictive traits and monitoring those you think may struggle. There are many different types of behavioral therapies that can give you tools to moderate the addictive response. If you suspect that a family member or friend is struggling with an addiction, behavioral therapies can be incorporated into treatment programs so that they can take back their sobriety and control over their addictive traits.

Know When To Get Help

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

Unfortunately, sometimes identifying your addiction and its cause may not be enough to help you overcome it. In fact, some addictions, especially those with a neurochemical component, may be virtually impossible to overcome on your own. Instead, you should seek professional help if you:

  • Lie or hide the habit
  • Have trouble stopping the habit at any time. If youre not sure about this, give yourself a cooling off period of some weeks. If you cant go without, you need help.
  • Engage in the habit despite negative consequences
  • Let the habit crowd other things and people out of your life
  • Are told by others that they are worried about you because of your habit

If you are noticing these signs, then its time to admit that your addiction is out of your control, and you need professional help.

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How To Help Someone With A High Risk For Addiction

At Gateway, we offer various forms of evidence-based treatments to help individuals moderate addictive responses to drugs, alcohol and other substances. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team of professionals has been treating substance abuse disorders for over 50 years, and utilizes a continuum of care to track an individuals progress over time.

Contact Gateway today to receive care if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.

How To Spot Addictive Personality Disorder

For those who have never been exposed to addictive personality disorder before it may seem that identifying the disorder is as simple as observing these addictive behaviors. While spotting addictive behaviors in some may be relatively easy, in most it is considerably difficult due to the fact that these behaviors are often hidden out of shame. There are some signs that can be spotted in those with addictive personality that can help to alert family and friends to the presence of the disorder. Some signs of addictive personality disorder include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • A tendency to impulsive behavior
  • An antisocial personality
  • A disposition toward sensation seeking
  • Someone who values nonconformity to an extreme
  • Someone with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement that are generally accepted by normal society
  • Someone who is tolerant of deviant behavior
  • Someone who is socially alienated
  • Having an increased sense of stress

While all of these symptoms can be indicative of a number of life stages, when present in groups and accompanied by certain behavior patterns they can be indicative of addictive personality disorder.

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Suffering From Other Mental Health Disorders

Individuals struggling with pre-existing mental health conditions are at a higher risk of developing addictions. Some of the conditions included are:

  • Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders
  • Anxiety or panic disorder
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder

One reason these particular mental health disorders can lead to addiction is because they are the types of disorders that lead to personal isolation, therefore making the individual more likely to self-medicate, rather than reach out to others for help.

How To Help Someone With A High Addiction Risk


If you know someone you consider to have an addictive personality or who has a high risk of addiction, you can help them by:

  • Approaching them about their substance use or other behavior in a caring manner that is firm and respects your boundaries.
  • Expressing concern about their behavior and explaining how their choices are negatively impacting you and others in their lives.
  • Presenting facts about how their choices have affected you and how it might be negatively impacting their lives.
  • Explaining to them that they have an illness or are at risk of developing an illness if they are not careful and that you understand their actions are not due to a character flaw.
  • Engaging other people in their lives who care about them to express concerns similar to yours.
  • Offering professional help and agreeing to support them in finding the right treatment options.
  • Allowing them to accept responsibility for their behavior.
  • Offering hope and sharing with them how life is better when they do not succumb to an addiction.
  • Recommending self-help groups as an early intervention strategy. Some people arent ready for formal inpatient or outpatient treatment but benefit from attending 12-step or other self-help meetings.

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Do Addictive Personality Traits Predict Addiction

Home | News | Do Addictive Personality Traits Predict Addiction?

An addictive personality refers to a combination of addictive traits that, in theory, predispose a person to addiction. However, the concept of the addictive personality is debated. So what are addictive personality traits and do they really offer insight into future addictions? Learn more about the most frequently reported addictive personality traits and how they relate to actual substance use disorders.

An estimated10-15% of the population is thought to have an addictive personality. However, despite the widespread discussion of addictive personality traits as predictors of substance abuse, there is no such thing as an addictive personality disorder. This means that an addictive personality is not medically recognized as a diagnosable mental illness. However, patterns worth noting do still arise in the personality traits of those who suffer from addiction.


  • What Is an Addictive Personality?
  • The Myth Of The Generic Addictive Personality

    The fiction is the concept of a specific addictive personality. In fact, most researchers in addiction today would caution against the idea of a single, generic personality that is prone to addiction. An article in Scientific American verifies and offers evidence for the fact that there is no one personality type that leads to addiction. In fact, some seemingly disparate traits can lead different people to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, depending on other factors.

    While there are several different types of traits that can be recognized in individuals who develop substance use disorders, they are not all present in every person who becomes addicted. Therefore, the image that some people see of the socially outcast criminal is an inaccurate vision of the individual who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.

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    Using Marijuana To Relax

    Tense? Anxious? You may have found that a joint can help you relax at the end of a stressful day. But did you know that weed has a rebound effect that increases anxiety after it wears off? Or that it can seriously interfere with your motivation in life, or trigger serious psychological problems?

    Healthy ways to meet this need: The younger you are, the riskier it is to smoke pot. But even for older folks, the idea that pot will help you relax is, overall, incorrect. Instead, look to safer methods of stress management and relaxation.

    The Role Of An Addictive Personality In Relationships

    Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

    Dealing with the heavy topic of addiction becomes even more crucial when you take into consideration the effect that addiction can have on even the closest of relationships. These relationships can be:

    • A boyfriend that has an addictive personality
    • A husband with an addictive personality
    • Any individual married to someone with an addictive personality
    • A brother or sister with an addictive personality
    • A child with an addictive personality
    • Any family member with an addictive personality

    Someone who has some of the personality traits associated with addiction will most likely experience some issues in their relationships especially with those closest to them.

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    Is Addictive Personality A Myth

    While “addictive personality” is a common phrase in public discourse, it’s not actually a medical or scientific term. The scientific community has not yet identified an exact personality type that corresponds with heightened addiction risksalthough scientific research has shown that there are a variety of personality traits and genetic combinations that can lead to a higher risk for developing addictions. Those factors are different for individual people.

    “There are definitely individuals who are prone to become addicted in various ways,” Boyd says, noting that addiction is often a combination of both genetics and the environment. “Some of this is based on personal history, but much of it is determined by having a family history of addiction.”

    In her book Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, health journalist Maia Szalavitz reports that no single personality profile has been linked to addiction, despite decades of research on the subject. If you think you’re addicted to something because of who you are or because of your personality, you’ve been led astray.

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