The term “addictive personality” seems to be everyday talk these days, almost cliché, and widely misunderstood or used in the wrong way. Having an addictive personality conjures up images for many people of drug addicts and alcoholics, Hollywood actors and actresses, and rock stars alike with their sometimes unfortunate antics of drugs and alcohol only adding to the misconception. In all reality, anyone could be affected. It depends on their personality type as to whether they have a greater chance of having an addition.
And it could be an addiction to anything, really. Not just drugs and alcohol. It can be shopping, food, video games, gambling, sex, and others.
While some people can walk in a clothing shop and buy the one pair of jeans they’ve been eyeing for a month, or walk out without any purchase at all, others with a shopping addiction find it almost impossible without buying something – every time. And while one person can stop at a beer or two at a barbeque and not have another drink for days or weeks, another could have their every thought focused on when they’ll have the next drink.
Personalities, including addictive personalities, are very complex. While there’s not one specific type that’s more prone to addiction than others, there are several factors that can combine to make someone more likely to become addicted.
Genetics – Studies show that there could be a genetic component to addiction. In fact, studies have shown that genetics is responsible for about half the likelihood of someone becoming addicted.
Environmental – Having family members with addictions doesn’t automatically mean you’re destined to have an addition at some point in your life. Many other factors, such as the friends you hang out with, your education, your social support, and the environment you grow up in, will all play a part in whether your addictive personality traits develop into an addiction. Addiction is a medical illness and develops in the same way as many other illnesses. A person with an underlying genetic vulnerability is exposed to an environment that brings on the illness. In the case of drug and alcohol addiction, common environmental factors are stress and, of course, availability of the addictive substances.
Mental And Emotional Health – A person’s state of mental and emotional health can give more significant rise to becoming addicted to something.
Exposure – If a person has never been exposed to alcohol, then they can’t become addicted to it. In other words, even if a person has an addictive personality, they can’t exhibit the corresponding addictive behaviors to a substance unless they’re exposed to that substance.
13 Signs You Might Have An Addictive Personality
There’s no medical test to determine who may develop an addiction, but there are certain personality traits that can make someone more prone to developing an addiction.
One common factor underlying every addiction is the feeling of reward. The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a glass of wine, the sights and sounds of a casino, a shopping spree, or a satisfying meal. When a person receives the feeling of reward, the brain is instantly flooding with the neurotransmitter dopamine. One of the parts dopamine plays is controlling a person’s emotions. The right balance of dopamine is vital for both physical and mental wellbeing.
Here are some signs of an addictive personality:
- Obsessing – A person with an addictive personality tends to obsess. Just like an alcoholic will obsess over when the next drink is available, or the gambling addict obsessing over when work will be over so they can head over to the casino to play the slots, a person with an addictive personality will more likely obsess as well.
- Always Wanting More – For a person who exhibits signs of addiction, “enough” is never enough. One more pair of jeans or a couple more pairs of shoes, one more try to win the lotto, or a few cocktails during the lunch hour; they will have a desire for more, and the same holds true for many who exhibit addictive personality traits.
- Lying – Addiction and lying go hand-in-hand and are multilayered. First, the user lies to themself about having an addiction; as a result, they also have to lie to everyone else around them as well. The deeper they become ensnared in their addiction, the more likely they’re going to feel the need to rest. And before long, the lies become truths to them, and they’re trapped in the vicious cycle of lying and denial. A person with an addictive personality might also show signs of lying as well, which would transfer into the same behavior if they become addicted.
- Manipulation – The very thing that a person is addicted to most likely takes top priority over everything in their life, whether it be family, friends, or partners. As a result, they will manipulate others to fulfill the addictive itch. I could be lying or making up stories to get money or even feigning love and attraction to have the person take them out bar hopping. Similarly, a person with an addictive personality will also use the manipulation card for their personal benefit.
- Criminal Behavior – For the most part, you have to have money to support a habit. Whether it’s buying clothes or gambling, if manipulating people no longer works and the money runs out, a person might resort to committing crimes such as stealing money, stealing jewelry or other expensive items to pawn for cash, or forging checks to fill that addictive need. Their perception of reality could very well be skewed by their addiction, and therefore they might justify criminal behavior. A person with addictive personality traits might also exhibit criminal behavior in the same manner.
- Continuing Despite Negative Outcomes – This can be anything from criminal behavior, not being able to stay in a relationship for some time, or infidelity. The addictive personality supersedes the desire to stop exhibiting negative results, even when it negatively affects personal and professional relationships, jobs, and their self-image. Again, their perception might be skewed, and therefore, they might continue with their behavior despite the adverse outcomes.
- Impulsive Behavior – Impulsive behavior means acting out without thinking about the impact of your actions. Although most everyone has poor judgment at times, a person who regularly engages in this type of behavior is exhibiting impulsive behavior, which can be indicative of an addictive personality. Studies that looked at the brains of addicts found they’re more likely to make snap decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
- Not Taking Responsibility – Not taking accountability or responsibility for their choices and results is a common trait of someone with an addictive personality. This will also hold true if addiction develops whereby the person will continue pointing their finger at everyone but them and believing that everyone else has the problem.
- Revolving Relationships – The traits of someone with an addictive personality such as lying, manipulation, and always wanting and needing more all contribute to failed relationships. Plus, the little need for change, and something new can also cause relationships to be short-lived and revolving.
- Sensation Seeking – As with a person with an addiction, a person with an addictive personality often needs to feel the next “rush” and the reward. They look for the next high and often need more of it to keep the good feelings flowing. A person who is sensation-seeking is one who is constantly seeking out new experiences and new sources of adrenaline rushes. One main problem with sensation-seeking is the continuous desire for something different and new, which can lead to the experimentation of drugs and alcohol, which can lead to substance abuse.
- Neuroticism –Neuroticism, the state of having traits or symptoms characteristic of neurosis, is another possible trait of someone with an addictive personality. People with high neuroticism often respond to challenges or threats with negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, anxiety, and irritability. Research has revealed that people with high neuroticism are more likely to suffer from a substance use disorder.
- Secrecy – Keeping their secrets is critical for a person with an addiction, and is also a common trait for a person with an addictive personality. It’s almost impossible, if not at the very least, tiring, for the person’s world and existence to continue in its current state if it is not kept secret.
- Risk-Taking: The thrill and excitement of risk-taking is another common trait of someone with an addictive personality. The mere act of doing something impulsive and dangerous provides that rush of dopamine that makes the person feel pleasure.
If you think you might have an addictive personality, if you want more information about addictive personalities or addiction, or if you have any other questions, the licensed professionals at BetterHelp can help. They have a knowledgeable and caring staff to assist you. You can speak with a therapist 24/7, seven days a week, in a way that is most convenient for you. You can contact BetterHelp here.