An addictive personality is a set of personality traits that make addiction more likely. Addictions can come in a wide range of forms, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, exercise, pornography and more. Uniting these addictions is the repeated use of pleasurable activities to cope with stress, pressure, and conflict. Addicts use substances or activities to deal with the troubles of their daily lives. This can negatively impact their lives and personal relationships as an addict becomes dependent.
Traits of an Addictive Personality
Simply because you fit the description of several traits of an addictive personality does not necessarily mean that you have one. However, it may mean that you should watch your relationship with harmful substances and activities because you may be more prone to an addiction. The following personality traits may be indicative of someone with an addictive personality.
Impulsive behavior means acting without thinking about the impact of your actions. It’s kind of like eating a large piece of cake when you’re on a diet or staying out drinking even when you have to get up early the next day. Though everyone succumbs to temptations sometimes, a person who engages in this type of behavior habitually is exhibiting impulsive behavior that can be indicative of an addictive personality.
A second personality trait that may be indicative of someone with an addictive personality is sensation-seeking. This means a person is constantly seeking out new experiences – new flavors, new travel locations or new sources of adrenaline rushes such as extreme sports. People who are sensation-seeking may also be the first to try a form of psychoactive drugs. This constant desire for new experience can lead to more experimentation, and later abuse, of drugs and alcohol.
Placing a high value on nonconformity can contribute to having an addictive personality. When combined with the achievement goals valued by society, this personality trait can lead to greater chance of addiction. If you have less of a desire to achieve goals valued by society, you may be less likely to notice when substance abuse or other forms of addiction begin to negatively impact personal, social or work life. Sometimes the value of nonconformity is an indicator of someone with an addictive personality.
Valuing nonconformity sometimes comes with a tolerance for deviance and a sense of social alienation. This tolerance for deviance can mean individuals are more likely to come into contact with substances and behaviors frowned upon by society at large. A person who has more tolerance for deviance may be more likely to experiment with drugs, opening themselves up to the possibility of addiction.
If you lack a consistent social group or social connections, it may be difficult to develop long-lasting bonds. Lack of strong social bonds may lead to loneliness. It may also be more difficult to control impulses and adhere to commitments without steady social contracts. Thus, social alienation can contribute to an addictive personality in these ways.
The final personality trait often present in those with addictive personalities is compulsivity. Compulsive behavior refers to engaging in activities even when they may result in negative consequences. If you are already more likely to engage in “deviant” behavior due to an impulsive personality, sensation-seeking, placing value in nonconformity and a sense of social alienation, having a compulsive personality may make you even more likely to form an addiction.
How to Deal with an Addictive Personality
Recovery can be a reality. Having an addictive personality has numerous challenges but, with awareness and work, you can manage an addictive personality and channel it into a positive life. We move from destruction to construction one day at a time.