Personality Traits of Addiction

 

People talk about having an “addictive personality,” but are there really certain personality traits of addiction? Addictive personality isn’t a real psychological diagnosis, but some personality traits do seem to be more common in people with addictions.

Seeing the Signs

Doctors and psychologists can sometimes tell, just from meeting a patient, that the person has an addiction. It’s sort of a “sixth sense” that comes from long experience. What exactly are the doctors looking for? They may not be able to say just what sets off that sixth sense, but it’s based on certain behaviors and attitudes that people with addiction tend to have.

For example, people with addictions may:

  • Suffer from anxiety and depression
  • Appear anxious
  • Seem awkward, impatient, arrogant or angry
  • Ask for narcotic medications without a valid reason

Traits and Behaviors

Spending time with an addict may help you recognize certain traits and behaviors that tend to accompany addiction, such as the following.

  • Making impulsive choices
  • Constantly seeking excitement and new sensations
  • Feeling alienated from mainstream society
  • Valuing deviant or nonconformist behavior
  • Lacking patience such as having trouble waiting for delayed gratification

Personality Disorders and Addiction

Not every addict has a personality disorder, and not every person with a personality disorder has an addiction. However, some personality disorders do seem to have a connection to addiction.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

These people seem to have no regard for either social norms or other people’s feelings. Typical traits include:

  • Constantly breaking the law
  • Acting deceitful, such as lying, using false names or trying to con other people
  • Failing to plan ahead
  • Acting irritable or aggressive, and getting into physical fights
  • Behaving recklessly or putting other people in danger
  • Failing to hold a job, pay bills or keep up with other responsibilities
  • Lacking remorse for wrong-doing, including for hurting others

Borderline Personality Disorder

People with this disorder have trouble maintaining healthy relationships. Typical traits include:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable relationships
  • A tendency to see people as either wonderful or awful
  • Poor self-image
  • Impulsivity
  • Suicidal or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense moods which change fairly rapidly
  • Inappropriate or uncontrollable anger
  • Paranoia

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