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Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

Updated on June 19, 2013
These PET brain scans show that that addicts have fewer than average dopamine receptors in their brains, so that weaker dopamine signals are sent between cells.
These PET brain scans show that that addicts have fewer than average dopamine receptors in their brains, so that weaker dopamine signals are sent between cells. | Source

What is an Addictive Personality?

Many people believe that substances and certain behaviors are solely responsible for people becoming addicted, needing the next fix, unable to make themselves better. This is a misconception when it comes to addiction and substance abuse. Even though certain actions, behaviors, and substances are addictive, the person themselves have some kind of hard wiring in their brain that makes them extremely susceptible to addiction. The person with an addictive personality can try anything once and immediately become addicted to it. They can smoke one cigarette and the next day smoke a pack per day. This person can try their first beer and immediately become an alcoholic. They can try their first joint and immediately want another and another. This person can become addicted to drugs, self harm, body modification, sex, gambling, even exercise, eating or develop another eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. The person whom has an addictive personality does not know how to deal with life's stress in a healthy and normal manner, instead they turn to substances and behaviors to dull the stress because that is the only way they know and understand how to make themselves feel better. A person that has an addictive personality may give up one addiction but instead of becoming healthy they develop an addiction to something else. The person with an addictive personality does not know nor do they understand how to live in moderation, instead they live to excess, needing more and more; they are rarely satisfied. The addictive personality craves normalcy, happiness, and self esteem, they just do not understand where to find it or how to achieve it in a healthy manner. An addiction is “nothing more than an out of control habit” and the addictive personality can become addicted to anything as long as it gives them a sense of instant gratification, euphoria, and a sense of belonging.

Not Everyone Becomes Addicted

It is true that not everyone becomes addicted to actions, behaviors, and substances. The average person tries something once or twice just to gain experience, but the addict cannot let go of something that they find enjoyable. The average person can pick up a bottle of wine, drink a glass or two and put the cork back in after an extremely stressful day. A person with an addictive personality drinks one glass and pours five more, drinking the entire bottle, never putting the cork back in. An average person can eat a few spoonfuls of a pint of ice cream, cap it and put in back in the freezer for another day. A person with an addictive personality will eat the entire pint with a spoon leaving them wanting more. Not everyone is an addict; not everyone makes every behavior, action, and substance a problem in their lives. It is not normal for one to make normal actions and behaviors and make them a problem. It is not normal to drink excessively everyday and crave more the next day. It is not normal to exercise excessively and still feel that one needs to work out more to feel better about themselves. It is not normal to binge eat. It is not normal to starve oneself or purge. It is not normal to seek comfort in prescription or illegal drugs when life becomes too stressful to handle. It is not normal to trade one addiction for the other. If one believes or thinks they may have an addictive personality one must be aware of the signs and try to find stability to achieve healthy happiness.


The Signs of an Addictive Personality

It is, often times, difficult for people to see and become aware of their own problems, they hide behind themselves and their coping mechanism(s) hoping to never see the light and hoping others will not see their darkness. Even though people who have addictive personalities are not completely aware of their personal issues there are many signs they can try to become aware of to help make small changes in their lives to help prevent poor decision making in the future.

These sings include but are not limited to the following:

Low self esteem

  • A tendency to impulsive behavior

  • An antisocial personality

  • Difficulty delaying gratification

  • A disposition toward sensation seeking

  • Someone who values nonconformity to an extreme

  • Someone with a weak commitment to the goals for achievement that are generally accepted by “normal” society

  • Someone who is tolerant of deviant behavior

  • Someone who is socially alienated

  • Having an increased sense of stress

When one has an addictive personality, addiction becomes a very difficult fight to win. The battle of addiction seems endless and accomplishment seems unreachable, unattainable, and impossible. Even though it seems impossible to get better and lead a more normal life it is possible.

Treating the Addictive Personality

Treating the addictive personality is very difficult, because one not only has to be open about recovery but they also have to be open to seeking the route of the issue, and why one must seek out anything as an addiction to have a feeling of euphoria and instant gratification. The person with an addictive personality may have a single addiction and not realize that they have an addictive personality so they only seek treatment for a sole addiction, when in reality when they finally come out of recovery they become addicted to another vice almost immediately. Recovery for an addictive personality must be much more intensive than someone who become addicted to solely drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. For the addictive personality, rehabilitation centers may not work due to the fact that many centers revolve around a single vice, instead if one has an addictive personality one may find more comfort and treatment in private therapy, so they can talk and begin to find a route to their addictive habits. The person with an addictive personality must understand the reasoning behind their risk seeking behavior and the only way to do so is to partake in a rigorous therapeutic regime.

Addiction Therapist in New England

Dr. Rick Barnett:
56 Old Farm Road, Stowe, VT 05672, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in Vermont

Barbara Grover:
62 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in Connecticut

Mr. Robert Dorley:
239 Loudon Road, Concord, NH 03301, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in New Hampshire

Polo Jean-Louis:
612 Gray Road, Gorham, ME 04038, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in Maine

Mr. Thomas A. Peltz:
Beverly, MA 01915, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in Massachusetts

Ms. Mary A Dionne:
501 Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906, USA

get directions

Addiction Therapy in Rhode Island

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

Do you become addicted with the first try of a new experience? Do you love the feeling of instant gratification and euphoria? Are you very impulsive? Do you dislike anything that takes time to achieve? Does stress overwhelm you on most days and you do not know how to deal with that heightened stress in a healthy manner? Do you seek risky behaviors? Do you have social anxiety and do you tend to alienate yourself from social gatherings? Do you cope with your emotions, thoughts, and stress with alcohol or other substances? If you answered yes to these questions you may have an addictive personality. Awareness of this is the first step to understanding yourself and your behaviors. This knowledge is not an easy thing to come to terms with and can become extremely overwhelming, but with time and effort you will be able to come to an understanding of your risky behaviors and now you can take the next steps toward recovery so you can lead a healthy life. Remember that recovery is a decision you have to make for yourself, no one can push you toward it. If you feel that your life is unbalanced and you find life stresses difficult to cope with, just think about seeking help. Make the decision of healthy living for yourself, it will not be something you will regret once you reach it. Addiction can happen to anyone, but not everyone becomes addicted to everything and anything.

Do You Have an Addictive Personality?

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    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Thank you again Kathryn! I try because I also believe it is important! Many people do not wish to talk about important topics such as this, and this is part of my inspiration to tackle these difficult subjects!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Well, you do very well at writing these subjects that are hard to write about. I think it's good to inform people what it's like.

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Thank you Kathryn! Unfortunately, I do know what I am talking about, I have had many struggles in life and have seen too many of my close friends struggle as well. Thankfully I pulled myself out and so have a few of my best friends, but it is a struggle since we all have this type of personality, but speaking for myself, I know better, and I have so much good in my life, that I know I cannot go backwards in my progression and growth :) It is a tough subject to write about and even read about, but I am glad that you read it. Thanks again.

      You have a wonderful day as well!


    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I haven't seen many people tackle this subject, so it is refreshing to hear about it. I have known people with that type of personality, and it is sad. They are the only ones who can really help themselves, and it is a rough road.

      Thank you for sharing this article with us. It looks like it has been well researched, and it really sounds like you know what you're talking about.

      Have a wonderful day, Jami!

      ~ Kathryn

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Crystal, thank you for reading. You are not alone in feeling like you can become addicted to anything, I have been through many hardships and struggles in my life as well. I personally have not gone through intensive therapy (even though I have been to drug and alcohol counseling a couple of times, and only once for a longer period of time due to an underage drinking ticket, but I have yet to find someone I feel comfortable with since). At a young age I had developed many destructive behaviors that followed me for a long time, dragging me down. Now that I am a young mother I have quit most of these behaviors cold turkey, and I still have a lot of work to do, but I have found quite a good balance for me right now. We just need to remind ourselves every time we engage in these behaviors that it is not doing us any good, and we must become aware of them before we can change them. Thank you for being open, I'll be here if you ever need anything :)

    • JamiJay profile imageAUTHOR

      Jami Johnson 

      5 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Bill, thank you :) yes, it is quite a different subject than I usually write about here, but the other day when I was with my best friend we were talking about our past and how far we have come: we were teenage addicts for many years, we began using at an extremely young age and are now both fighting hard to gain a better quality of life. Our friendship was destroyed five years ago, but now that we have both cleaned up we actually rebuilt our friendship, something we both thought would never be possible, but we have been best friends since we were 8 years old so we knew we couldn't give up on each other. During this conversation we were talking about our individual struggle when we were apart, and how she believed she had an addictive personality (and I believe I do as well), which inspired my research and thus created this hub.

      I applaud you in your sobriety, it is an extremely difficult thing to achieve in life for all of us with addictive personalities :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      I truly believe I have an addictive personality. I have one particular addiction that is the primary addiction, but I'm aware that I can get addicted to just about anything. I think you are on target with this hub. Thanks for writing it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      An interesting subject for you to write about. A bit different from the other hubs you have written. :)

      Yes indeedy, I have an addictive personality and I've paid the price many times over for it. Now six and a half years sober and loving life, but it was a struggle for decades.

      Good job tackling a difficult subject.



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