Addictive Personality Traits: Can They Predict Addiction?

addictive personality traits

Your personality is unique to you—it makes you who you are and illustrates your passions, likes, and dislikes. But did you know that your personality could also leave you at risk for developing addictive qualities? These characteristics are known as addictive personality traits, which we will examine in closer detail below. But how reliable are signs of addictive personality traits? Keep reading for answers.

Most Common Addictive Personality Traits

Studies show that there may be a connection between having addictive personality traits and developing a substance use disorder down the line. Addictive personality traits vary depending on the person, but there are some common characteristics to look out for. In the field of psychology, experts tend to sort personality traits, addictive or otherwise, into five main categories

  • Agreeableness—Caring for other people and having strong empathetic feelings are characteristics of this personality trait. For those who are low in agreeableness, they often do not care much for other people’s feelings and instead focus on themselves as their sole interest.
  • Extroversion—You might have heard of extroverts and introverts to describe levels of social interaction. Ranking high in extroversion means that the person with this personality trait tends to like social situations and feel reenergized after spending time with others. Extroverts might be more likely to go to a party or approach new people at a bar in order to make those social connections. 
  • Neuroticism—Feeling stressed, having persistent worries, and experiencing extreme highs and lows in moods are all signs of neuroticism. This personality trait is linked with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
  • Openness—People who rank high in the category of openness are usually extra creative. The trait of openness indicates a willingness to try new things, a love for adventure, and the ability to keep an open mind about new ideas or experiences. 
  • Conscientiousness—Being conscientious often includes having an ability to self-reflect on your own behaviors. People who rank high in this trait of conscientiousness typically have a lot of impulse control, whereas people who rank low in this category often are impulsive and do not think ahead to future consequences before going through with a decision to do something.

One study on the “Big Five” personality traits found that the characteristics of high neuroticism, low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness were directly connected to somebody’s chances of having a substance use disorder and co-occurring mental illness. If we break this down into what we know about these categories, we can see that a person who is often anxious or stressed would be more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their discomfort. This is especially true in people who lack the right hormones and brain chemistry to feel rewarded for positive behaviors. Combine this with impulsivity, lack of sleep, and tendencies to self-indulge and there is suddenly a very good chance that this person will develop an addiction.

Furthermore, there are certain risk factors that contribute to your likelihood of struggling with addiction, including family history of addiction and having co-occurring mental health disorders. Even if you do not have any of the addictive personality traits, you might still be at a greater risk for developing addiction because of these factors. The safest way to guarantee your safety when it comes to addiction and psychological distress is to reach out to mental health professionals for an assessment.

What to Do if You Have Addictive Personality Disorder

What to Do if You Have Addictive Personality Disorder Traits

First and foremost, the best way to determine if you have addictive personality traits is to assess your own feelings and behaviors. Consider asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I often make decisions about drinking or using drugs without thinking through the consequences?
  • Do I turn to drugs and alcohol when I’m feeling upset, anxious, or worried?
  • Am I willing to try new substances if somebody offers them to me?
  • Do I enjoy being the life of the party everywhere I go?
  • Am I unable or unwilling to stop myself from using drugs or drinking?
  • Do I constantly think about the next time I’ll get to drink or use drugs?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may have an addictive personality disorder and you may already be struggling with substance use. The next step would be to seek out professional treatment for addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions.

Treatment for Addiction at Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital

At Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital, we believe that, with the right treatment approaches, you can recover from the harmful parts of having addictive personality traits while still staying true to yourself. Addiction recovery can help you to feel creative, build meaningful relationships with your peers, and learn how to use healthy coping mechanisms to heal your mental health.

Here, you have the opportunity to safely detox from alcohol and/or drug use to keep yourself on track toward physical, emotional, and mental recovery. After this process, you will have access to additional treatments such as:

If you have additional questions about addictive personality traits or how to begin the process of recovery now, reach out to us at 225-300-8470. You also have the option to submit a confidential contact form with your questions and your story. However you choose to get in touch, know that we are standing by to support you each step of the way.

FAQs Regarding Addictive Personality Traits

Typically, somebody is characterized as having an addictive personality when they easily obsess or fixate on certain things. Other addictive personality traits include being impulsive, being open to trying anything new regardless of the consequences, and needing to be around other people. But keep in mind that experts recognize having these personality traits doesn’t guarantee that you will have an addiction, just as not having these characteristics doesn’t mean that you are safe from substance use.

Do you find yourself becoming fixated on one particular hobby, activity, or feeling? Do you find yourself chasing “highs” or exhilarating experiences without being able to stop? Are you willing to try anything despite the consequences, especially in social situations? If so, you might have an addictive personality.

The best way to prevent addiction is to keep track of any risk factors that could increase your chances of developing a substance use disorder. For example, if you have a family history of addiction, surround yourself with others who frequently use drugs or alcohol, and/or you have untreated mental health disorders, you are at a much higher risk of struggling with addiction. Getting professional mental health help and advice before substance use takes control is the best way to prevent addiction and maintain recovery.

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