Addiction is a complex topic that affects countless individuals in various ways and can take many forms, such as substance abuse, alcoholism, gambling, and even pornography. It can quickly become a crippling physical and mental health issue that not only impacts the individual directly, but also has negative effects on family members, friends, and entire communities as a whole.

Not recognizing the destructive personality traits of an addict can make it incredibly difficult to recognize that a loved one may be struggling and need help.

We go over the main personality traits of an addict, how they lead to addiction, and how you can help someone if they’re struggling with substance abuse.

The Personality Traits of an Addict

Addiction is often associated with certain personality traits, such as impulsivity, low self-esteem, and a tendency toward sensation-seeking.

People who are impulsive or display compulsive behaviors may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use, while low self-esteem can lead people with this personality type to use drugs and exhibit other addictive behaviors as a way to cope with negative feelings about themselves.

Similarly, sensation-seeking individuals are also at high risk for developing an addiction as they look to find new experiences that induce adrenaline through taking risks and being adventurous, often to the extreme.

These personality traits can contribute to addictive behaviors by making it difficult for people with a highly addictive personality to resist the temptation to use drugs or alcohol. Although not everyone with addictive personalities will end up with a substance use disorder, identifying these traits in your loved ones can help you realize they have a problem early enough to get them the right treatment and support.

Implications of Personality Traits for Addiction Treatment

Understanding how personality traits increase the likelihood of developing an addiction can help family members, loved ones, and addiction professionals formulate effective addiction treatment strategies.

Although each situation in addiction is unique, someone who displays addictive behaviors is more likely to engage in addictive practices and form an addiction than someone who does not display these behaviors.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” tactic that will work for all in addiction therapy, which is why there are numerous treatment programs available for those suffering from different levels of addiction, ranging from drug addiction to alcohol addiction, and more. Depending on how strongly addictive personality traits are expressed, people struggling with drug or alcohol abuse may need to attend rehab programs of different intensities and supervision levels.

Coping Strategies for Individuals with Addictive Personalities

Girl runner runs with a group of friends in a park

During treatment, people who have addictive personalities and have engaged in substance abuse learn a variety of coping mechanisms to counter their impulsivity and low self-esteem, including:

  • Developing a support system
  • Identifying and coping with triggers
  • Practicing mindfulness and self-awareness exercises to manage their emotions and reactions to difficult or tempting situations

For people who struggle with addictive tendencies, setting realistic goals can provide motivation and a sense of accomplishment. For example, turning to your support system in times of emotional distress instead of using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate should be encouraged and celebrated. This reinforces positive coping skills and helps reinforce the fact that healthy reactions to triggers and stress can help you overcome your addiction.

Supporting Loved Ones with Addictive Personalities

If your loved one has an addictive personality disorder that has led to substance abuse, the most important thing you can do is provide emotional support and encourage them to seek professional treatment.

It can be easy to slip into the role of helper and confidante, which can quickly become detrimental to your own mental health. Instead, encourage them to seek professional treatment that includes family or group therapy, while setting healthy boundaries that prevent you from enabling or suffering because of their addiction.

Choose Newport Recovery Center

Addiction is a complex issue to overcome; however, it does not have to be done alone. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t wait. Contact Newport Beach Recovery for help today.