Addictive Personalities and Addiction

Some people are more inclined toward addictive behaviors than others. We understand the complexities of addiction and offer specialized treatment to address both the addictive behavior and any underlying personality factors.


Addiction is a complex disorder that affects individuals regardless of their personality. The debate about why certain people develop an addiction continues. However, most experts agree that addiction is a brain disorder and not a personality disorder. Dual diagnosis addictive personality treatment can help manage both disorders.

What is an Addictive Personality?


Someone with an addictive personality is more likely to develop an addiction to a substance or behavior. This addiction can include becoming extremely passionate about something, developing an obsession, or becoming fixated on something. An addictive personality can lead to overindulging in food, sex, video games, drugs, and alcohol.

Some behaviors of addiction personality disorder are an attempt to heal negative emotions and trauma. At first, it may seem harmless when someone is addicted to video games or food. But, the obsession and addiction can change. For instance, a video game addiction can transition to substances such as drugs or alcohol.

Signs of an Addictive Personality


Several traits can be a sign of an addictive personality. Although mental health issues such as depression and anxiety may indicate an addiction personality disorder, it’s not always the case. However, better indicators of an addictive personality include:

  • Binge-eating/comfort eating
  • Drinking alcohol to relax or socialize
  • Always checking their phone or social media
  • Changing sexual partners looking for real intimacy
  • Excessive shopping
  • Gambling
  • Obsessing
  • Excessive risk-taking
  • Drug use
  • Never satisfied/always needing more
  • Inability to stop using drugs or alcohol

If you or someone you know is struggling with healthy boundaries or is hiding harmful behaviors, addictive personality treatment can help regain control of life.

What Causes an Addictive Personality?


Why do some people have an addictive personality and others don’t? One reason may be that certain behavioral and personality traits can cause someone to develop an addiction. Although traits can vary, certain traits can lead to addiction.


Being impulsive is often associated with a range of mental issues, including addiction. Impulsivity can lead to risky behaviors. Simultaneously, someone with an addictive personality can be described as someone with erratic and spontaneous behaviors with little thought about the consequences.

Compulsive Behaviors

Between the pursuit of rewards and repeating behaviors, compulsions offer relief in stressful situations. However, compulsive behaviors such as substance misuse come at a price. Relationships, careers, and a person’s health all suffer. Addictive personality treatment can help regain control and manage behaviors.

Sensation-Seeking Behaviors

While driven to find new experiences and excitement, sensation-seekers become bored without constant stimulation. They love the feeling of their adrenaline pumping, taking risks, and seeking thrills. However, these behaviors and intense cravings can lead to misusing substances.

Inability to Self-Regulate

All addictive personality traits are an inability to regulate behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. This inability to self-regulate, for instance, interferes with the ability to drink alcohol in moderation. The inability to control behaviors often centers around receiving a reward or dopamine release and can lead to addiction.

The Risks of Struggling With Addictive Personality


Personalities are unique, which is why some people have a higher risk of developing an addiction. For example, a person may be adventurous and try new things, but they are typically not impulsive. Generally, this personality is low risk for developing an addiction.

Traits of individuals with addiction personality disorder include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of patience
  • Emotional instability
  • Denial
  • Social isolation
  • Nonconformity

Genetics of Addiction Personality Disorder


Personalities are complex, and research continues on addictive personality. However, a link between genetics and an addictive personality has been found. In this case, an individual whose parents struggle with substance use disorder or a behavioral addiction has a higher risk of exhibiting an addiction personality disorder.

Individuals whose parents have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder are also predisposed to an addictive personality. Genetics isn’t the only indicator of having an addictive personality; but, they are very influential.

Addiction Personality Disorder and Impulse Control Disorder


When a person has trouble controlling their emotions and behaviors, it is known as impulse control disorder. Their behaviors often violate others rights or go against social norms and laws. Impulse control disorders include oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, kleptomania, and pyromania.

Co-Occurring Addictive Personality and Impulse Control Disorder

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports 20.4 million Americans aged 12 and over struggled with addiction in 2019. Furthermore, 9.5 million Americans 18 and over struggled with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. As a result, it is typical for impulse control disorder and addiction personality disorder to co-occur.

These two disorders also share similar features. For instance, impulse control disorder and addiction are both characterized by compulsion and lack of control. People with either disorder also have cravings to use substances or carry out a behavior. Therefore, they both involve dopamine release or the reward system in the brain.

Addiction, Compulsions and Addictive Personality


Although compulsions and addictions have vital differences, they can have the same underlying causes. For example, someone with an alcohol addiction may be struggling with anxiety or fill a void. In comparison, someone with compulsions may have anxiety but not misuse substances.

The most significant difference between compulsions and addictions is the lack of pleasure and pleasure-seeking ways. While compulsions are often a lack of pleasure, addictions are typically motivated by pleasure. Individuals who feed their cravings are rewarded with dopamine releases. As a result, it becomes a habit and can be challenging to stop without addictive personality treatment.

Addiction Personality Disorder Traits and the Link to Addiction


Although there are various traits to addiction personality disorder, several traits increase the risk of addiction.

  • Impulsivity – Besides being a significant factor in addictive personality, it’s also a factor in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Of the people in addictive personality treatment, about 25% have co-occurring ADHD.
  • Nonconformity – Many people who seek addictive personality treatment describe themselves as non-conformists. While celebrating individualism is essential, it can lead to social and familial isolation. Without the support of friends and family, many turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
  • Sensation-seeking – All people engage in sensation-seeking behaviors to some extent. But, people who are continually engaging in this behavior are prone to addiction. For instance, a person may try a specific drug because of the thrill of the high. However, this behavior leads to using more of the drug and addiction, looking for the initial sensation.

Co-Occurring Mental Disorders and Addictive Personality


A person who struggles with an addictive personality often struggles with other co-occurring mental health disorders like addiction. Common mental health issues also diagnosed in addictive personality treatment include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorders
  • ADHD
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

In addictive personality treatment, it’s vital to also be treated for any other mental disorders. Without treatment of the underlying causes of addiction personality disorder, relapse into old behaviors are inevitable. Furthermore, it can lead to replacing the treated addiction with another addiction.

Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders


It is crucial to know the signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders. Two different conditions can feed off each other. Without dual diagnosis treatment, however, they will worsen over time. While most co-occurring disorders have unique symptoms, there are common signs to look for.

  • Change in behavior
  • Change in appearance
  • Relationship problems
  • Employment issues
  • Legal problems
  • Health changes
  • Financial troubles

If you notice these signs in someone you love, it’s time they seek dual diagnosis treatment.

Dual Diagnosis and Addictive Personality Treatment Options


Inpatient addictive personality treatment treats both the addiction personality disorder and co-occurring mental disorders, including substance use disorder. This treatment program is often the preferred choice as it offers the highest level of supervision.  Struggling with an addictive personality and a co-occurring mental disorder is extremely challenging, so having 24-hour care can help maintain recovery.

Outpatient addictive personality treatment programs vary depending on their structure. Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) is similar to inpatient treatment. An individual’s day is structured and scheduled; however, they go home at night. There are more flexible outpatient programs that fit the needs of the individual.

Treating Addiction Personality Disorder and Co-Occurring Disorders


Treatment for addictive personality and co-occurring addiction may include detox, medication therapy, and a variety of traditional and holistic therapies. However, patience and a strong support system are also crucial to maintaining recovery. Common therapies in dual diagnosis addictive personality treatment include:

  • Detoxification: Detox may be necessary for those with drug or alcohol addiction. In detox, a person can safely rid the body of harmful substances. This is typically the first step in addiction treatment.
  • Medication Assistance: Many mental health disorders, including addiction, can benefit from medication assistance. Although there are no specific medications to treat addictive personality, there are medications to treat the symptoms.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Dialectical behavior therapy helps individuals understand and manage their emotions. One focus of DBT is accepting your situation as well as being mindful of others.

Get Help Today at Harmony Ridge


If you or someone you love is struggling with an addictive personality and addiction, it is time to seek dual diagnosis addictive personality treatment. Like all mental health disorders, it will only worsen or be replaced with other addictions without treatment. Contact us today and discover the best treatment options for you.

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