Addictive Personality

photo of a dictionary focused on the word addiction and the word addictive is below it out of focus - addictive personality - hired power breakawayAddictive personality is a phrase often used to refer to a person’s tendency towards addiction. People who struggle with addiction appear to have certain personality traits in common. That cluster of personality traits seems to make a person more susceptible to addiction.

However, simply having a predisposition towards developing addictions will not cause an addiction to occur. Environment plays a part and acts as a trigger in the development of an addiction.

Addictive Personality Traits

Addictive personality traits have a genetic, inheritable component to them. A person who has abnormal levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine has a higher risk of addiction as well.

Here are some common personality traits identified in addictive personality.

Mental Health

  • Belief system dominated by maladaptive attitudes and thinking errors
  • Constantly switching from one addiction to another
  • Past trauma, especially severe childhood trauma
  • Severe pre-existing personality disorder

Relationships & Social Adjustment

  • Difficulty trusting others including loved ones
  • Disregard for socially acceptable goals of achievement
  • Easily giving in to negative peer pressure
  • Feeling socially alienated
  • Insecurity in relationships
  • Loneliness
  • Tolerance for deviance
  • Valuing nonconformity

Self Control & Emotions

  • Compulsivity and poor self control
  • Difficulty achieving long-term goals
  • Excessive sensation seeking
  • Heightened stress response
  • Low self esteem
  • Low tolerance for stress
  • Poor coping skills
  • Prone to depression, anxiety, anger, mood swings


Treatment for addictive personality can include cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy, distress tolerance, emotional regulation and mindfulness training, coping and self-soothing skills, relapse prevention and behavioral interventions, family therapy, aversion therapy, and social support.


Identifying and addressing the various personality traits involved in addictive personality aids in the treatment of addiction in general. As more research is conducting in the field of addictive personality, treatment professionals will be better able to design strategies to intervene on the traits and behaviors associated with addictive personality.