Our personality stems from a variety of factors, and some people are more prone to addiction than others. Author Maia Szalavitz notes in her 2016 article titled “The addictive personality isn’t what you think it is” in Scientific American that there isn’t one specific type of personality that is more apt to take on addiction, rather there are many factors that could increase a person’s susceptibility towards addiction. Dr. Mark Griffiths, a distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University and writer for Psychology Today further confirms this claim in 2016 by stating, “In short, there is no good evidence that there is a specific personality trait (or set of traits) that is predictive of addiction and addiction alone.”

Personality traits such as high neuroticism – which involves anxiousness, unhappiness, and being prone to negative emotions – are pre-disposing factors for addictive behavior. Low conscientiousness behaviors such as impulsiveness, carelessness, and disorganization are also pre-disposing factors, but Dr. Griffiths explained that there is no “one personality” that can promise addiction. American Addiction Centers describes several other personality traits and aspects of oneself that could be at higher risk for addiction:

  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Adventurous and risk-taking
  • Disconnected and cautious
  • Obsessive and compulsive
  • Apathetic
  • Unable to self-regulate

Writer Kaitlyn Motley, MA for Recovery.org provides several other environmental influencers that can lead someone to addiction, especially at an early age: exposure to alcohol or drugs, abuse or neglect, violence, divorce, incarceration of a family member, neighborhood poverty or violence, racism or discrimination, lack of parental supervision, lack of economic opportunity and early aggressive behavior. Although certain personality traits, genes, and environmental factors can increase our risk of developing addiction, we ultimately have the power to decide whether we fall into addiction or not.

We can make active decisions that can help us to avoid addiction. These decisions may include spending time with people who enjoy sobriety and healthy living, engaging in healthy activities such as exercising, combating mental illness by seeing a therapist, filling our bodies with nutritious food, and more. By taking active steps towards healthy living, we can decrease our chances of addictive behavior. We can overcome the potential of addiction by staying constantly aware of our habits and how those habits influence us.

If you suffer from addiction, speak with a doctor and therapist today. There are people ready to support you and help you recover. It is never too late.







Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665

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