An addictive personality refers to a group of personality traits that predispose a person to develop addictions. These addictions can range from excessive shopping or gambling to obsessions with video games or comfort eating, as well as drug or alcohol addictions
What Causes an Addictive Personality?
One specific personality type does not automatically lead to addiction. There is no exact blueprint or set of traits that predispose someone to an addictive personality. Even so, there are several factors that, when combined, can make an individual more likely to become addicted to any number of substances or activities.
Addictive personality factors can include:
- Difficulty with delayed gratification: People with addictive personalities are usually focused on the short-term and have trouble planning for the future. They may see drugs or alcohol as a quick fix to cover up negative emotions.
- Antisocial personality: Those who have difficulty with social relationships may turn to addictive substances or activities to ease their loneliness. Someone with an antisocial personality could start to abuse substances for similar reasons.
- Depression and apathy: Individuals who experience depression may turn to addictions as a way to cover up painful emotions.
- Insecurity: Some people may use compulsive, addictive behaviors to cover up their insecurities or fear of failure.
- Compulsive behavior: People who engage in risky behaviors over and over again and are unable to stop may have a propensity toward addiction. These people may take an all-or-nothing approach to life, and are more likely to believe they’re either perfect or a failure.
- Low distress tolerance: A lack of coping skills or stress management can make someone more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs or other addictions.
- Substituting vices: Individuals with addictive personalities may switch from one addiction to another to fulfill an underlying need.
Additional factors that may cause an addictive personality include co-occurring mental health disorders, abuse or trauma in childhood, being related to others with addiction, or deprivation or overindulgence in early life.
People with a higher addiction risk include those who are adventurous or take risks. One sign of an addictive personality is when an individual has low impulse control when it comes to experimenting with risky activities. High levels of dopamine in the brain may also compel someone to experiment with drugs or alcohol to feel more pleasure, since excessive amounts of dopamine can cause someone to have a lower sensitivity to its effects.
How to Help Someone With a High Risk for Addiction
At Gateway Foundation, 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 individual’s progress over time.
Contact Gateway Foundation today to receive care if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.