Top 7 addictive personality traits

Is there such a thing as an addictive personality?

The research is torn. Some say yes, that some people have, hands down, an addictive personality. Others say that there are addictive personality traits which anyone can possess, but that these traits do not define an actual personality type.

Either way, there are undoubtedly some common qualities that are considered addictive personality traits or, if you choose to look at it another way: traits of addiction that some people possess.

1. Manipulation

Now, my ten-year-old nephew can be manipulative, but does this mean he has an addictive personality? Maybe. Maybe not. Some people are just manipulative people, and that’s another issue in itself.

Addictive personality types do, however, carry this trait. When an addict is deep in his or her addiction, he or she will naturally manipulate family and friends in order to get their next fix.  They may make and break promises, steal substances and/or money, or tell outrageous stories in order to get what they want—relief that they believe comes in the form of alcohol and drugs.

2. Lying

Manipulation and lying go hand in hand, and lying is a trait of an addictive personality. Sadly enough, lying does not simply mean that the addict lies to those around him. Addicts lie, first and foremost, to themselves by telling themselves lies about their addictions (that they aren’t addictions at all or that they can stop anytime they want).

Oftentimes, the lies become second nature to the addict, and telling the truth seems weird or unnatural. This is why, in recovery, brutal honesty is paramount to success.

3. Blame Shifting

We all know someone who does not take responsibility for him or herself, but instead blames others for their negative behaviour. Blame shifting is a classic trait of the addictive personality.

When you blame others, you are unable to see your own faults or how your behaviour contributes to the problem. Blame shifters believe the problem is everyone else’s but their own. The deeper the addition, the more blame shifting occurs.

4. Impulsive Behavior

Impulsive behaviour means just that—acting impulsively without seeing how your actions can negatively impact others or yourself. Impulsive behaviour can mean spending money you don’t have, stealing, driving drunk, fighting, and more.

Of course, everyone can act impulsively from time to time, but a person who habitually acts out without seeing how their actions can harm themselves or others possesses this addictive personality trait.

5. Thrill Seeking

Do you know anyone who considers themselves an adrenaline junkie? These are people who thrive off of adrenaline whether it is jumping out of a plane, driving too fast, sky diving, or anything to get a thrill.

The constant search for adrenaline may or may not end up being a problem; some people will live lives of adventure to fill their adrenaline rushes. However, sometimes the thrill seeker ends up, in his or her desire for new sensations, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

6. Poor self-worth

People who battle depression, low self-esteem, or high stress and anxiety tend to lean towards drugs and/or alcohol to self-medicate these feelings. They want to feel better about themselves, so they reach for these substances for a quick fix, but often times, their occasional use turns into more frequent use until they are battling the cycle of addition.

The paradox of this cycle is that drugs and alcohol rewire brain chemistry thus causing more depression, low self-esteem and/or high anxiety, which was exactly what they were trying to escape in the first place.

7. Criminal Behavior

In the depths of addiction, an addict will do anything to keep his or her addiction alive, even if it is an illegal activity. Addicts are often guilty of criminal behaviour and are labelled “a criminal” when the root is that drugs have such a strong hold over them that their reason and logic is completely altered. Because of this, criminal behaviour is seen as an addictive personality trait.

As you can see, some of these traits occur in all people at one point or another. Others are more common in addicts. While this seems depressing, you must remember that your personality doesn’t determine the course of your life. All of these traits are not indicative of a person who will become addicted to drugs.

There is help out there for substance abuse, and many addicts become successful members of society and lead positive, productive lives. As you have heard many times before, the first and hardest step is acknowledging you have a problem.

We’re here to help. Call us today if you’d like a free and confidential chat with one of our highly-trained professionals.

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David Scourfield

David Scourfield is a Camino Recovery team member since 2017, focused on facilitating communication with Clinical and other professionals to ensure a comprehensive understanding of Camino's program.

Combining his marketing skills and lived experiences, he joined Camino in 2017, contributing to external publications and the Camino website. With a strong belief in solidarity during the recovery process, David helps clients build support networks by connecting them with others in recovery.

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