It is well-known that certain people are simply more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol than others. However, there are also a variety of myths about personality types and addiction. For example, some people believe that individuals with “an addictive personality” are more likely to suffer from some type of substance use disorder.

However, as the linked article notes, an addictive personality isn’t necessarily bad, nor is there any relationship between personality traits and addiction. Someone who suffers from some of the traits that are classically associated with an addictive personality may develop an addiction to an array of substances. However, with the right professional guidance, someone with an addictive personality can change to develop healthy habits and fully devote themselves to their own recovery.

So, what is an addictive personality? And how can it help someone in recovery?

Defining an Addictive Personality

First, it is important to understand that “addictive personality” isn’t scientifically defined or DSM-IV criteria. Instead, it is more commonly used to refer to individuals who are predisposed to be addicted to various substances. Furthermore, it can also refer to a person who gets intensely involved in anything they do, including sports, habits, work…or use of alcohol and drugs. 

Scientific research doesn’t necessarily back the idea that certain personality types are more or less likely to become addicted to others. There are genetic and behavioral links to addiction. However, that doesn’t mean certain personality traits predispose a person to addiction. Indeed, people who have a substance use disorder tend to have a wide range of personality traits and types. 

As such, the personality of someone who has an addiction to any substance shouldn’t be viewed as a personality at all. Instead, a complex interaction of personal history, life experiences, and genetics contributes to addiction.

In a more casual setting, the following traits are generally understood to refer to an addictive personality:

  • Intense, almost all-consuming focus
  • An obsessive nature
  • Someone who is highly likely to engage in adventurous and new activities
  • An individual who uses or abuses substances

Many of these traits can be negative or become negative when taken to extremes. However, they can be used more positively.

Using an “Addictive Personality” in Treatment

Evidence shows that the same traits that lead to addiction may be utilized more productively. 

For example, imagine a person who truly flings themselves into activities, gives 110% to everything they do, and focuses on activities to the point of obsession. Obviously, obsessing over any habit — no matter how healthy that habit may be — can be problematic. However, it may be that the obsessive nature of an individual can be used towards recovery. 

Doing so requires intense therapy that can achieve the following:

  • Help an individual understand the error of their current behavior
  • Break unhealthy habits that relate to drugs or alcohol
  • Reconfigure their focus so that recovery becomes the end goal and the focused-on activity

Again, this is not meant to be a simple task…it isn’t. Instead, this hypothetical is meant to raise a point. If a person can learn the error of their ways and the benefit of developing healthy habits, they can begin to substitute unhealthy behaviors for healthy ones. 

What Is Needed to Transform an Addictive Personality

Anyone can accomplish the above steps. However, doing so requires expert therapists who can break through someone’s negative lifestyle and help them understand that they need to change. This may require:

  • Trained, professional, and accredited staff that can work with individuals to help them recognize the need for change.
  • Numerous modalities of treatment, including potentially using partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. The type of treatment a person may need varies by the severity of their addiction, but treatment intensity has to be matched to the individual in question.
  • Customizable therapy options can help a person recognize what is wrong and identify how to fix their addictive behaviors. 
  • Set goals. Individuals who come to therapy need to work with professionals to develop a customized treatment plan that fits their needs and gives them specific, concrete goals they can reach. 

The Treatment for Addiction – Regardless of Personality

Treatment strategies must change based on the personality of the individual suffering and what that person suffers from. At Olympus Recovery, we get this fundamental reality. We’re deeply proud of the team we have built and their combined hundreds of years of experience in the addiction field. Our trained professionals understand how to make a customized treatment plan that fits the needs of the person suffering and can help that individual develop better habits that will lead to long-term recovery.

Are you or your loved one ready to take the next steps, or are you looking for more information on how to recover? Contact us today by visiting our website or calling 1-866-305-7184. We’re here to help.

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For immediate help call us confidentially at (866) 305-7134. Our admissions specialists can answer all your questions, and put you on the road to recovery.

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