Signs and Symptoms: Do You Have an Addictive Personality Disorder?

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An addictive personality disorder is a debilitating condition that can affect a person’s physical and mental health and impact their careers, finances, and relationships. This article focuses on the primary indications that could signal someone is struggling with addiction. It can help individuals and their families recognize signs that may require addictive personality disorder treatment.

What is an addictive personality disorder?

Having an addictive personality describes a blend of qualities, actions, and propensities that could increase an individual’s predisposition to addiction or compulsive behaviors. Some individuals are more inclined than others to develop addictions based on varying genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Possessing an addictive personality does not imply without a doubt someone will develop an addiction. It purely indicates an enhanced risk factor.

Addictions or compulsive behaviors, including substance abuse, gambling, shopping, or excessive internet use. Addictive personality traits differ among individuals, but there is typically a significant impact on the person’s life. They struggle with impulse control that leads to ongoing destructive behaviors, which inevitably cause financial issues, damaged relationships, and compromised physical and mental health.

Addictive personality disorder symptoms

By understanding the following psychological symptoms, individuals and their loved ones can find professional help to nurture a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.


When a person has poor impulse control, it is hard to resist immediate gratification and they end up making impulsive decisions. They also cannot regulate the frequency of their indulgences. People with addictive personalities are more likely to engage in activities and behaviors that are harmful and lead to negative consequences.

For example, those addicted to gambling or shopping cannot curb their spending and they continue to accumulate excessive debt. Drug and alcohol addiction is uncontrolled consumption to reach a ‘high’ without considering the potential negative outcomes.

Thrill and sensation seeking

Individuals with addictive personality characteristics often pursue intense experiences, excitement, and novelty. This inflames the urge to take part in activities that offer an increased feeling of arousal and stimulation with little regard for safety.

When these thrilling experiences activate the brain’s reward system, it releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine. The desire to experience a ‘rush’ reinforces the cycle of addiction, and they often seek new and more radical sensations. This could be extreme sports, drugs, gambling, or risky sexual behavior.

Low self-esteem

Individuals with addictive personalities can have existing low self-esteem, which causes them to develop an addiction as a coping mechanism and temporary relief. Or, they develop feelings of inadequacy because of their addiction. This self-doubt that runs deep can appear in different areas of their lives, making the addiction cycle worse.

Low self-esteem in individuals with addictive personalities often results in self-sabotaging behaviors. The engagement in self-destructive patterns that undermine their relationships and personal goals usually stems from unresolved psychological issues.

Emotional imbalance

Poor impulse control in addictive personalities often results in impulsive emotional reactions. By not considering the consequences, they act on their emotions and exhibit impulsive and harmful behaviors. They also experience disruption or instability in their emotional well-being. Because of their inability to regulate their emotions, they can fluctuate between feelings of anger, sadness, or emptiness, and they find relief through addictive substances or behaviors.

People with addictive personality traits often encounter co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, or trauma-related disorders. When they turn to maladaptive coping mechanisms, it can exacerbate the symptoms of the underlying conditions and intensify the cycle of addiction.

Lack of self-care

A common characteristic of addictive personality disorder is the lack of self-care. Usually, people maintain and enhance their physical, emotional, and mental well-being by deliberately practicing self-care.

However, individuals who engage in excessive substance use or compulsive behaviors ignore their own self-care needs because they prioritize their addictions over everything else. This can lead to declining health conditions and worsen the overall quality of life.

The following physical signs of addictive personality disorder are linked to the particular addictive actions themselves, rather than serving as direct signs of an addictive personality. It is important to note that not all individuals with addictive inclinations will manifest these physical indications.

Substance abuse

Individuals who abuse alcohol, drugs, or tobacco may have bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, changes in appetite and weight, impaired coordination and motor skills, and slurred speech.

Poor health status and outcomes

Along with noticeable poor hygiene practices, health complications can arise from long-term substance abuse. Excessive alcohol and drug use can damage vital organs and lead to an increased risk of cancer and disease.

Inadequate nutrition

Addiction can interfere with proper nutrition and eating habits. Ignore and suppressed appetites cause malnutrition, weight loss or gain, a weakened immune system, and overall physical weakness.

Sleep disturbances

Many addictive substances and behaviors can increase anxiety levels and disturb sleep patterns. Insomnia or disrupted sleep can be a direct cause of fatigue, decreased energy levels, and impaired cognitive functioning.

When to seek help?

If you or someone close to you are showing signs of an addictive personality disorder, it is vital to seek professional help. Specialists can provide an accurate assessment and diagnosis, and treatment plans.

Learn about addiction, its effects, and treatment options.

Offer support for those struggling with addiction and encourage open, non-judgmental communication and empathy.

Supporting someone with an addiction can be emotionally challenging but if you are battling a disorder, it is important to prioritize self-care and seek support for yourself as well.

Find reputable healthcare providers who specialize in addiction treatment by seeking out recommendations from trusted sources.

Getting an assessment is crucial. It will detect the presence and severity of the disorder and lay the foundation for the prescribed treatment plan.

In summary

Addiction is pervasive and intricate, affecting people from diverse backgrounds, and navigating addiction can be a lifelong endeavor. Each person’s journey through addiction and recovery is different, and the process requires both time and dedication. A comprehensive treatment approach incorporates medical interventions, lifestyle adjustments, and support for overall well-being. Healthcare providers, addiction specialists, and therapists can offer guidance and support in managing the physical effects of addictive personalities.

Getting support and receiving treatment for addictive behaviors may not always be an easy feat. However, it is a courageous step and empowering decision to acknowledge your worth and prioritize your well-being. Committing to change will improve your long-term health outcomes and enhance the likelihood of successful rehabilitation.

The post Signs and Symptoms: Do You Have an Addictive Personality Disorder? appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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