7 Common Addictive Personality Traits to Look Out For

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While no two people are the same, there are often several addictive personality traits that are commonly shared. If you or a loved one suffer from the disease of addiction, it can be helpful to understand these underlying causes to properly deal with the situation at hand. If you believe someone you know is likely to form an addictive habit, keep an eye on these addictive personality traits and address them promptly.

Impulsive Behavior

Almost every addict displays erratic and impulsive behavior in one form or another. Impulsive behavior is one of the most apparent addictive personality traits. Apparent in multiple areas of a person’s life, impulsivity can be noticed from a young age.

Impulsive people need to feel as if they are in control and have difficulty doing things in moderation. These people see everything as “all or nothing” and won’t do something unless they can do it all the way. There is no gray area or middle ground.

This is often called “black and white thinking” and is probably one of the more definitive addictive personality traits. An example of this would be a sudden and drastic decision without much thought given, such as randomly deciding to get a tattoo on a Tuesday morning or cutting off all of one’s hair just because.


Addicts usually show a general disdain for societal values and trends.  They place a high value on nonconformity and prefer to separate themselves from the crowd. This often leads to reclusiveness and social alienation. This is one of the more noticeable addictive personality traits.

Nonconformity is associated with a general affinity towards deviance and places value on participating in activities that are considered taboo or illegal. Most addicts pride themselves on being different from others, a trait that can be ultimately lead to their demise.

A common description of this condition is being “terminally unique”. While it is good to be an individual and possess unique qualities, alienating yourself from the rest of society only makes life more difficult.

Inability to Deal with Stress

Addictions are often used as coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety and some legitimate mental illness. This idea is highly counterintuitive, yet is one of the common addictive personality traits. People who are unable to deal with stress in healthy ways often turn to obsessive behaviors as a solution.

By using outside things, they can take the focus off of the internal turmoil they may be experiencing. They believe they can self-medicate to get better, but this method of self-medicating will inevitably lead to implosion.

Using drugs and alcohol to cope with emotional stress or pain is only a temporary solution. In order to get out of this detrimental cycle, a period of abstinence is required. As they become sober, they can get a clearer perspective of their actions and situation, then begin the process of learning healthy coping skills.


Denial is another one of the more common addictive personality traits. Most people realize when they are in a negative situation, but people suffering from addiction often do not. This attitude prevents them from seeing things as they are and allows them to continue obsessive behavior and using without realizing or coming to terms with the consequences.

Denial is very real. The power of denial is phenomenal. It showcases the innate power of the human brain. Drugs and alcohol make an altered reality that much easier to create. Alcoholics and addicts, undeniably, have trouble with living life on life’s terms. Living in denial separates the addict from the harmful reality of the life and unhealthy activities they are engaging in, as well as protects them from any liability for their actions.

Lack of Patience

People who have trouble waiting and desire instant gratification often find themselves gravitating toward addiction. Addicts need pleasure and fulfillment right away and don’t have the necessary patience to wait. Addicts live second to second, feeling to feeling, and moment to moment. Some addicts even reconcile the fact that they could die anytime.

In their minds, they have nothing to lose. There is no tomorrow for addicts. If they want something, they want it right then. They will go to all lengths and means to make whatever they desire theirs. The overwhelming desire for instant gratification can make them dangerous. Anything separating them from whatever it might be they’re after is viewed as an obstacle to be overcome by any means necessary, even if it’s a person.


People struggling with addiction are, for the most part, constantly up and down. These vast mood swings are often attributed to drug use, but instability itself is one of the more obvious addictive personality traits. Instability can be characterized as emotional, physical, or mental. Many people will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to find a middle ground, but often it merely exacerbates the instability.

It is very difficult to stabilize your mood if you are consistently using substances. The only constant is that there is no stability for an addict. Most people who have the disease of addiction tend to also have an accompanying mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is known as a dual-diagnosis.

Difficulty Asking for Help

Addicts and alcoholics can be very self-sufficient people—to a fault. Self-sufficiency is one of the addictive personality traits that go overlooked. What might seem as a healthy level of self-sufficiency may just be a masquerade of self-destructive behavior.

With an inflated sense of self and ego comes an inability to admit defeat or failure. People struggling with addiction have difficulty asking for help, even in the smallest form. Lack of trust is another inherent trait. So, not only do they have difficulty asking for help, but they also don’t trust many people—if any. This can make asking for help next to impossible.

In some treatment settings, asking for help is part of the treatment plan. Asking for help can be the difference between life and death. Don’t let your addiction get in the way of your asking for help when you need it. Help is always available for those who desire it.

Recognize These Addictive Personality Traits? Call for Help Now

If you or a loved one are exhibiting these addictive personality traits, then you may want to start thinking about getting treatment if you think substance abuse may be a present situation. Call the 24-hour helpline at The Palm Beach Institute at (855) 534-3574 or contact us online and talk with our addiction specialists about how addiction interventions, getting drug and alcohol treatment, and how to afford drug rehab. People can change. Start your recovery knowing you’re on your way to becoming a better, fulfilled person.

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