An addictive personality is defined by having a natural tendency to develop addictions. However, an addictive personality disorder is not an official medical or mental health diagnosis. This means there are also no addictive personality tests to inform whether you will develop an addiction.
Though the term addictive personality is commonplace, it is controversial among professionals. Some professionals feel that the use of the term “addictive personality” can be harmful as it may lead to placing the blame on the person’s character and focusing less on problem behaviors.1
The characteristics of an addictive personality are often associated with drug and alcohol use. However, individuals can be addicted to many things besides substances. Some people have addictive tendencies towards a variety of behaviors.
Alcohol and drug addiction personalities are not the only types of addictive personality types. Some people may find themselves addicted to shopping, food, video games, gambling, etc. Some people can find themselves addicted to “everything.”
Personalities, especially those that are considered addictive personalities, are complex. Though there is no evidence for what causes addictive personality, several traits and factors may be involved.
While no official health organization recognizes an addictive personality disorder and there are no official addictive personality tests, there are some traits that have been shown to be more associated with addictive tendencies. Some signs of an addictive personality include:2
Even though there are no addictive personality tests or recognized addictive personality disorder, these traits may help determine the risk of developing an addiction.
Symptoms of addictive personality may also be increased by genetics, environment, and mental and/or emotional states. These will be discussed further below.
There have been many studies that have shown that addictive tendencies have a genetic component. In fact, these studies have shown that genetics are responsible for about half of the likelihood of developing signs of an addictive personality.3
Having family members with an addiction does not always determine the development of an addictive personality. Environment, such as your social circle, education, social support, and where you grow up, can also be large determining factors for developing addictive personality traits.4
What causes addictive personality may be an individual’s mental and emotional state can also give rise to an addictive personality disorder. An addictive personality test may be determined by whether you are obsessively or compulsively engaging in a behavior to cope with negative feelings such as depression or anxiety.
As previously mentioned, no specific addictive personality disorder or addictive personality test. This may be because many professional medical and mental health organizations do not recognize addictive personality as a medical term. Many professionals believe the term “addictive personality” may be harmful and contribute to continued mental health stigma.
Some critics of the use of the term “addictive personality” note that the belief of an addictive personality disorder may:
If you believe you do not have addictive personality traits, you are not at risk of developing an addiction. This is not true, as anyone could be at risk for addiction.
The belief that the signs of addictive personality and addictive personality traits are inherently ingrained in an individual’s personality may contribute to a negative view that someone with an addiction has a certain set of negative traits within themselves.
If you are worried that you may be prone to addiction or have addictive personality traits, there are several things you can do to help avoid addiction.
Food is often used as a source of comfort and may be done to avoid or escape negative emotions. While eating for comfort, in moderation, is not harmful, continuing to engage in that behavior can increase the risk of developing an addiction.
Medications provide temporary relief. If you are using drugs to avoid feeling pain, anxiety, depression, or any type of negative experience, you increase your chances of becoming dependent on the drug and forming an addiction.
If you are feeling stressed out, anxious, or overwhelmed, learn healthy ways to cope with avoiding developing a reliance on marijuana. Marijuana also has a rebound effect of increasing your anxiety.
If you believe you have an addictive personality disorder or addictive personality traits, remember that you can overcome these issues. Signs of an addictive personality are not impossible to overcome.
Seek addictive personality treatment if you are struggling. If you believe you may be struggling with addiction or an addictive personality, tests or assessments may help determine the severity and type of treatment that would be best. Though there is no specific addictive personality test, there are various scientifically backed personality tests and assessments.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing an addiction based on your habits or behaviors, there are several things you can do to avoid engaging in problematic behaviors. These will be detailed below.
Meditation, relaxation, and self-care are good alternatives to use when feeling overwhelmed instead of engaging in harmful behaviors. Practice these daily to form positive habits.
Learn how to say no when you feel someone is overstepping your boundaries. Setting boundaries will help you build confidence and avoid placing you in potentially harmful situations.
Journaling can help reduce stress and anxiety, build self-esteem, and recognize behavior patterns that may need to change.
A strong support network is important to provide positive support if you are experiencing issues or concerns.
Exercise is important for both physical and mental health. Of course, exercise can also become an addiction, so make sure you allow your body time to rest when engaging in exercise.
If you are experiencing addiction or are concerned about an addictive personality, work with a sponsor who can provide support and insight.
As addictions can emerge as a way of coping with mental health conditions, it is important to seek therapy or treatment for these concerns. Especially if you believe you have an addictive personality, treatment as early as possible can help to avoid developing a full-blown addiction.
Receive treatment for addiction or issues related to an addictive personality at Pacific Beach Health. The friendly, compassionate, and knowledgeable, professional team at Pacific Beach Health uses evidenced-based and holistic approaches to treat a variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. For more information, contact Pacific Beach Health at 858.295.8694 or https://pacificbeacstg.wpengine.com/contact-us/.