6 Characteristics of an Addictive Personality

Addictive Personalities Explored

You may have heard the term addictive personality to describe different situations, mostly in relation to drug use. If you or a family member are struggling with addiction, you may feel frustrated over your inability to control your using, or your lack of willpower to say no to substances and situations that are harmful. Learn all you need to know about addictive personalities below:

What Is An Addictive Personality?

Essentially, it is a set of characteristics and behaviors that indicate a person is at-risk for addiction. This addiction may be drug and alcohol related, but it can also mean addiction to gambling, sex, video games or internet, shopping and abusive relationships. A few assorted personality traits identified by researchers are linked to mental health issues, a common yet critical factor of risk for addiction.

What Are The Character Traits Of An Addictive Personality?

While these are not all set in stone, there are several traits that are present with this type of personality, here are six common ones:

1. Lack of impulse control
This is a standard trait of an addict. Inability to delay gratification or to avoid certain behaviors despite potential consequences. This behavior is often evident in early childhood.

2. Low tolerance to stress; lack of resilience
Another common characteristic is difficulty managing stress. Poor internal coping skills can lead people to find outside ways to handle stress and anxiety. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often started out seeking refuge from stress by using substances.

3. Isolation
While this is more of a situation than a characteristic, people with addictive personalities are often loners who frequently describe themselves as socially awkward, or feeling as though they don’t fit in.

4. Obsessive/compulsive thinking
Obsessive thinking patterns are common in addicts. Coupled with lack of impulse control, these are major components of the addict personality.

5. Risk-taking
Some people just seem more prone to risky behavior than others. This is also evident even in early childhood. Throwing caution to the wind, taking unnecessary chances, “flying by the seat of the pants” can all lead to dangerous behaviors, such as the use of illicit drugs.

6. Trauma
While not everyone with an addictive personality has experienced trauma, it is very common. This trauma can trigger other characteristics such as excessive anxiety, obsessive thinking and social isolation, increasing the risk of addiction. Many of these traits work together to form the overall addictive personality. Some people have all of them, some only a couple. The more of these traits that are present, the more at-risk you or a loved one may be.

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