Recovery Center Blog

What Does It Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

Written By Recovery Centers - February 14th, 2023
What Does It Mean to Have an Addictive Personality?

It is not uncommon for a person to find something they love, dive in headfirst, and burn themselves out within a short matter of time. For example, say you discover a new flavor of potato chip that absolutely blows your mind. You have a small bag of the potato chips on Monday and find yourself craving them so intensely on Tuesday you run to the store on your lunch break and pick up a bigger bag. The remainder of the week is filled with potato chips — you can’t seem to control yourself. By Friday you are so burnt out on the flavor you need to take an indefinite break. Does this mean you have an addictive personality? Maybe. But more likely, you just went a little too hard on some potato chips.

Having an addictive personality doesn’t necessarily mean you find something you like and burn yourself out on it. Someone with an addictive personality has a certain set of personality traits and pre-existing risk factors that make them more susceptible to the development of an addictive disorder. Addiction comes in a variety of forms. A person can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, gambling, shopping, eating, sex, love… the list goes on.

If you or someone close to you has been engaging in patterns of addictive behavior that pose a risk to themselves or others, reaching out for some degree of professional help is likely a good idea. At Recovery Centers we understand that addiction impacts everyone differently, and the treatment options best suited for one individual might not be as effective for another. As soon as you make the decision to reach out for help, you will be put into contact with someone who will guide you in the right direction. Reach out today to learn more.

Impulsivity and Addiction

Certain personality traits are more commonly found among those who struggle with addiction. Examples of these personality traits include perfectionism, low self-esteem, and impulsivity. According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine, “Personality features have long been associated with addictions. Recently, impulsive tendencies have been considered important in the psychopathologies of addictions. Impulsivity may contribute to a wide range of psychopathology, including bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, pathological behaviors associated with Parkinson’s disease, and substance addictions. This review will focus on recent studies (published within the last year) that investigate impulsivity and addictions. Impulsivity has been described as rapid, unplanned behavior with little forethought of the consequences. Given this definition, some impulsivity may contribute to optimal decision-making and be advantageous in certain situations.”

Additional Risk Factors For Addictive Personalities

Impulsivity is not the only risk factor for an addictive personality. Other risk factors include:

  • An underlying mental illness like anxiety or depression.
  • Underlying attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Beginning to use drugs and alcohol from an early age.
  • Genetic predisposition — having a parent/parents who struggle with an addictive disorder of some kind (either a substance use disorder or behavioral addiction).
  • An increased propensity towards risk taking.
  • Unresolved trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Continuing to engage in certain behaviors despite negative consequences.
  • An inability to follow rules.
  • A propensity towards obsessive thinking.

Getting Help for an Addictive Disorder

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a substance use disorder or behavioral addiction, there are several effective treatment options available. The best course of action for you will depend on your unique case.

  • Medical Detox — If you have been using drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, entering into a medical detoxification program is an important first step on the road to recovery. The physical symptoms associated with drug and alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous when left untreated. Once you have been physically stabilized, you will be cleared to move onto the next appropriate level of care.
  • Residential/Inpatient Treatment — This level of care is ideal for those who are struggling with a severe substance use disorder or behavioral addiction, or for those who have a more complicated diagnosis (co-occurring disorders). Residential treatment is typically preceded by medical detox and followed up by a step-down level of care.
  • Partial Hospitalization (PHP) — PHP is one step lower than inpatient treatment, the main differentiating factor being that clients return home in the evening once the full day of treatment concludes.
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) — IOP is an ideal option for individuals looking for a more flexible treatment option. In most cases, a person will attend IOP for between 4 and 5 days a week, either earlier or later in the day. This flexibility in scheduling allows for continued fulfillment of work-related obligations. IOP is typically recommended as a step-down level of care following inpatient treatment, but can serve as a standalone treatment option in the case of mild or moderate addictive disorders.
  • 12 Step Programs — 12 Step programs are an ideal option for those looking for supplemental care following addiction treatment or for those who are struggling with a mild or moderate behavioral addiction and no co-occurring disorders. There are 12 Step programs for alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive overeating, sex and love addiction, gambling addiction, and more.
  • Individual Therapy — Those with addictive personalities often benefit immensely from individual therapy sessions conducted by a licensed professional. A therapist can help identify where the propensity towards addiction first originated, tackling it at its roots.
  • Psychiatric Services — Individuals with addictive personalities often struggle with underlying mental illness, more specifically anxiety or depression. For those with co-occurring mental health concerns, ongoing psychiatric care is often necessary. Medication might also be recommended.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with an addictive disorder of any type or severity, there is help available. If you have never previously considered entering into an addiction treatment program, you might be unsure of where to begin. First of all, we recommend considering which level of care will best meet your unique clinical needs. If you have been using one or several chemical substances regularly for longer than several weeks, we encourage you to begin your personal recovery journey with a short stay in an inpatient medical detox center. Once you have undergone withdrawal in a safe, structured environment, you will be cleared to transition into the next appropriate level of care. If you need help finding the right medical detox or treatment center for you, feel free to contact us at any point in time. At Recovery Centers we are standing by to help guide you in the right direction. We look forward to speaking with you soon and getting you started on your own personal journey of addiction recovery as soon as possible.