Addictive Personality QuizDo you have an addictive personality?
Learn If You Have an Addictive Personality
People with addictive personalities seem to be more prone to developing a fixation than other people. This fixation can be on anything, including a substance like alcohol, drugs, or tobacco; destructive behavior like gambling or risk-taking; or other behaviors like dieting and exercise. While not all these things are harmful in moderation, individuals with an addictive personality may find it difficult to enjoy something in moderation. For some, it can be impossible.
The more the term “addictive personality” is used in association with things like substance use disorder, the more individuals begin to question whether they may be more prone to developing SUD than others. While having a propensity to develop obsessions or fixations does not mean you will develop SUD, several signs can indicate whether you may have an addictive personality. Understanding if you tend to develop these behaviors can help you learn coping techniques as well as find the support you need to avoid a serious addiction.
Do you have an addictive personality? Take the Quiz.
What Is an Addictive Personality?
An addictive personality simply means that you tend to become fixated on, obsessed with, or addicted to something. This could start as a simple interest or passion and develop into a fixation where you feel you need the object, substance, sensation, behavior, or activity. However, it is important to note that “addictive personality” is not a single personality type. Several underlying factors can lead to fixations or addictions, such as dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, or poor impulse control. The object of the fixation can become a way to soothe the feelings of anxiety or depression, whether the individual is aware of what they are doing or is doing so subconsciously.
Not all objects of fixation are harmful in and of themselves. Addictive personality concerns can present themselves as an obsession or addiction to video games, shopping, food, sex, or exercise. While these things are harmless and even helpful on their own, the intense focus on them demonstrated by someone with an addictive personality can mean they become detrimental to the person’s mental or physical health.
What Can Cause an Addictive Personality?
There is no singular reason one person is more susceptible to developing an addictive personality than another. As mentioned, several factors can contribute to this scenario, and even those factors can manifest differently from person to person. Understanding the two primary contributors to your personality and the way they can interact with one another can help you better understand your risk of developing an addiction.
It is important to note that genetics is not the only factor that determines your personality, so there is not a definitive link between genetics and addictive personality. However, numerous scientific studies have been completed regarding genetics and addiction. How personalities develop and change are complex, but research has continuously indicated that there is a link between a person’s genetics and their potential to develop an addiction.
There is a reason your doctors request an extensive report regarding not only your medical history but that of your parents and other immediate family members. Certain mental and physical ailments often appear throughout the family tree, and their presence in your family history may mean you have the potential to develop them, as well. Assessing your history helps doctors anticipate issues you could develop, including addiction.
For example, the previously mentioned research shows that those who are born to parents who have been addicted to a substance are more likely to exhibit that addiction themselves. In addition, certain scenarios that can contribute to addiction, like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and OCD, may also be genetically linked. Individuals predisposed to mental illness are more likely to develop addictive tendencies.
It is important to note that just because you have a family history of addiction or addictive personalities, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are destined to display them yourself. Genetics is never the sole indicator in determining whether you have an addictive personality and never the only cause of addiction. However, it is beneficial to understand that family history can indicate whether you have a greater likelihood of having these personality traits.
In addition to genetic makeup, you are also influenced by your environment. This includes the way you are raised as a child, the friends you choose to surround yourself with, your education, your employment, your social support, and the general way you live your life day to day. These influences and decisions can all play a role in whether you develop an addictive personality and, eventually, an addiction. For example, if you have a family history of alcohol addiction and an addictive personality and choose to work or meet up with friends in a bar setting, you may be more inclined to develop an addiction to alcohol.
Addiction is a mental health condition, regardless of misconceptions that may have categorized it differently in the past. Like other illnesses, addiction can develop and then reveal itself over time, given the right opportunity and predisposing factors. If an individual with a genetic predisposition for addiction is exposed to environmental factors that also increase the risk for addiction, they may be more likely to develop the addiction.
Unfortunately, environmental factors for addictive personality and addiction can come very easily. For example, alcohol is widely available, easy to access, and is a part of many people’s environments. Drinking is an established norm in many societies and is often present in even basic social gatherings like birthday parties, BBQs, and work holiday parties. However, what can be an opportunity to enjoy a cocktail for one person could be a tipping point for someone with an addictive personality.
Signs You May Have an Addictive Personality
When it comes to personality traits and the likelihood of developing an addiction, there is no medical or psychological screening you can take that will assign you an “addictive personality” label. For example, personality disorders and addiction often go hand-in-hand, which can include disorders such as antisocial personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. However, having one of these disorders does not mean you will develop an addictive personality or an active addiction.
Here are Some Personality Traits Associated with Addiction:
It is natural to feel enjoyment or pleasure from certain activities, and the way the brain registers this pleasure is the same for all individuals—but the sources of that pleasure may be different. People experience pleasure from having a fantastic meal, enjoying a perfectly crafted cocktail, purchasing a great outfit, beating a difficult gaming level of a new video game, or experiencing the sounds and sights of a casino. When you are participating in a behavior that you enjoy, you experience activity in the reward center of the brain. This rewarding feeling floods your brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes pleasure and can impact your emotions.
For the genetic and environmental reasons described above, some individuals seek that reward response on a higher level than others. An individual with an addictive personality is driven to seek that flood of dopamine, so is more likely to continue to participate in the situations or activities that create this release. Over time, it can be harder to achieve the same effect, which is why behaviors or activities tend to increase until they become an addiction, as the person continues to chase this same feeling.
Never Feeling Satisfied
One sign of an addictive personality is never feeling satisfied or always wanting more. When a person has become overly fixated on a particular activity, it feels like there is never enough. This is where the phrase “just one more” can often come into play. This could mean buying one more pair of shoes, spinning the slot wheel one more time, or having one more drink at the bar.
For individuals with an addiction or an addictive personality, obsession is common. Obsession can present itself in numerous ways but often is most clear in the way a person plans their day. The object of obsession becomes the forefront of the individual’s mind, and anything else becomes secondary. The person will want to know when they can indulge, often counting down the minutes or reworking their schedule to achieve that rewarding feeling sooner. Obsession can mean it becomes a priority to indulge in the behavior versus an opportunity.
People with addictive personalities who develop an addiction often find themselves making excuses or lying about their behavior. This can start with lying to themselves. They find ways to justify the addiction, reassuring themselves that neither the behavior nor their obsession with it is out of the ordinary. Over time, dishonesty can extend to friends, family, and coworkers as they start to notice the addictive behavior itself or the consequences of that behavior. In many instances, lying becomes so ingrained that it simply seems like the truth to the individual. The cycle of pretending, hiding, and justifying becomes a way of life.
When a behavior is impulsive, it is done without thinking about the overall impact it will have. We are all guilty of making poor decisions and using poor judgment in our lives. However, those with consistent impulse issues could be dealing with an addictive personality. Those with an addictive personality are more likely to make snap decisions without considering the consequences. For this reason, addictive behavior and criminal behavior often go together.
Addiction and impulsive behavior can all contribute to criminal behavior. For example, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to financially maintain many addictions. This is often seen with gambling or shopping addictions, as well as addiction to drugs or alcohol. When the money runs out, there is an increased risk the individual will engage in criminal behavior to get the necessary funds.
In addition, addiction affects the brain, which in turn affects the way a person perceives the world and their actions. Many people do things they wouldn’t do while pursuing the object of their addiction. In many instances, it becomes easy to justify criminal activity, even when it costs a person their job, lifestyle, friends, and even their family.
Manipulation is a common trait for individuals with antisocial personality disorder, especially those who are prone to addiction. A skewed sense of priorities can lead a person to manipulate others to participate in or help support the addictive behavior. This can involve guilt-tripping a friend to drink with them, making up stories to get money from others, or pretending to love and care for a person whom they know will give access to the object of their addiction. Manipulation often involves the willingness to say or do anything to fulfill the addiction, regardless of the consequences.
Addictive Personality FAQs
Q: What Does It Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?
A: Having an addictive personality means that you are prone, whether through genetics, your environment, or a mix of both, to participate in behaviors that can become obsessive. You may tend to become fixated on a certain thing, such as shopping, video games, sex, alcohol, or drugs. If you are prone to addiction, you may find that you never get enough of your desired activity or situation to the point where it holds importance over everything else.
Q: Is There an Addictive Personality Type?
A: No one personality type indicates addiction or an addictive personality. Addictive personality and the behaviors that come with addiction can result from several factors and personality traits. Understanding your own personality traits can help you understand your addictive tendencies.
Q: What Are the Characteristics of Addictive Behavior?
A: Addictive behavior can be characterized by an inability to stop participating in a behavior and an inability to feel satisfied by indulging in the behavior moderately. Those who struggle with addictive behavior may find themselves focusing on the behavior until it becomes an obsession. They may lie about the extent of their obsession or participate in negative or even illegal behavior regardless of the consequences.
Q: What Personality Traits Are Associated With Addiction?
Personality traits often associated with addiction can include obsessive tendencies, dishonesty, impulsiveness, manipulation, excessive pleasure-seeking, and more. However, it is important to note that not everyone with these personality traits will develop an addiction.
Learn More About Addiction
If you are questioning your likelihood of having an addictive personality or find yourself already struggling with addictive tendencies, taking our Addictive Personality quiz may help provide you with a better understanding of your personality traits. You can also learn more about the behaviors or thoughts you have that could be considered a risk for addiction.
Whether you are struggling with an addictive personality or want to find ways to prevent developing an addiction, we can help. At Maryland Recovery, we provide several different recovery programs to help people at all stages of addiction.
"Maryland Recovery gave me the tools and counseling to accept my past and forge a new future for myself. Life today has a hope and brightness to it that had not experienced before. I got a job and an apartment with the help of Maryland Recovery. I am able to be part of my family’s life again."
— Robert M
"I am certain that this program helped save my life. I was provided with an opportunity to learn how to live a sober life. I learned to be responsible and accountable for my behavior. When practicing the principles of the program and remaining willing to grow on this journey, I experience a freedom I never knew, but always wanted."
— Morgan S
"The only things that I knew when I arrived at Maryland Recovery (MR) was that I was broken: spiritually, emotionally, and physically broken and that my way of doing things had gotten me there. The people at MR understood who I was better than I did. They assured me that I was not alone, with that came a glimpse of hope and some relief."
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