Addictive Personalities and Addiction in Women

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    In some specific cases, there are people who struggle with addictive personalities. This is more than just a simple passion; some actions may become addictions. While on the surface these may seem like obsessions, there may be underlying reasons for having an addictive personality. This can evolve into an addictive personality disorder. When people with addictive personalities fall into a habit of drugs, things can take a turn for the worse. 

    Getting carried away with activities like food, sex, video games, or drugs to the point of addiction can be potentially dangerous. While at first an activity like playing video games might seem harmless, the problem can occur when the activity of addiction changes. Someone with an addictive personality may turn to drugs or alcohol and become addicted quickly. addictive personality

    Treating cases of addiction in women who have addictive personalities can be complex. Fortunately, it is never too late to reach out for comprehensive help. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At New Directions for Women, we’ve helped thousands of women get to a better place in their lives. No matter how bad things may appear, there is also hope through comprehensive treatment and recovery. 

    What is an Addictive Personality?

    Someone with an addictive personality tends to have a much higher chance of becoming addicted to a behavior or activity. This can vary from person to person and can often cause problems (especially when drugs are the topic of addiction). Addiction, in this case, can be periods of extreme passion to the point of obsession (with a particular activity). Over time, a person will begin to flip between addictions, which can lead to drug addiction. 

    There are several underlying reasons why a person may have an addictive personality. This can be a genetic reason or an underlying mental condition. Either way, it’s important to pinpoint the reason and learn the necessary skills to cope with it. This is particularly about the topic of addiction and substance abuse. Addictive personalities can be very problematic in a woman’s day-to-day life. 

    Signs of Addictive Personalities

    Several different traits indicate an addictive personality. At times, a woman struggling with mental conditions like depression/anxiety can also indicate an addictive personality (but not always). Several different indicators can be used to indicate an addictive personality in a loved one or friend, including:

    • Gambling
    • Impulse buys and excessive shopping
    • Binge-eating/comfort eating
    • Risky and dangerous behavior
    • Drugs used to self-medicate
    • Inability to stop using harmful chemicals
    • Continuously doing harmful and risky activities
    • Constantly checking phone and social media
    • Using alcohol as a mean to socialize or relax

    The ability to stop and control your actions marks a healthy boundary that doesn’t impede on addiction. If someone is hiding their harmful behavior and continues to use substances or activities that cause negative consequences, it may be time for an intervention. 

    Traits That Lead to Addictive Personality Disorders

    Addictive personalities can be caused by several different reasons. There are specific traits that people with addictive personalities tend to have. Some of these traits have also been linked to drug and alcohol addiction. These traits include:

    • Impulsivity
    • Neuroticism
    • Disagreeability
    • Narcissism
    • Aggression
    • Sensation-seeking behaviors

    While these traits don’t automatically mean a person has an addictive personality, it’s present in those who do. These traits can lead to substance use disorder for a variety of reasons. 

    A Closer Look at the Genetics Involved with Addictive Personalities

    addictive personality treatmentOver the years, much research has been done in trying to understand addictive personalities due to the complexity of personalities in general. This research identifies a connection between genetics and someone’s ability to have an addictive personality. Those whose parents suffer from substance addiction or drug abuse may be more likely to have an addictive personality themselves. 

    Also, those whose parents have suffered from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or even obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might be predisposed to having an addictive personality. Genetics isn’t the only reason why someone may develop an addictive personality. However, having a family of people who suffer from an addictive personality may greatly increase a person’s chances. 

    Impulse Control and the Addictive Personality 

    Another major indicator of an addictive personality may be a person’s interests. This can include the need to be stimulated. Those with an addictive personality may be numbed to some of the rewarding elements of certain activities. A person may be restless and in need of constant excitement. Women who fit this description may have addictive personalities. Over time, a person may develop certain impulsive and unplanned behavior. This usually includes little to no thinking about the possible consequences. 

    If a person doesn’t know how to cope or control themselves in these situations, these addictions can begin to grow. This poor impulse control can end up leading to other worse habits. Without the proper coping mechanisms, a person can fall headfirst into addiction and substance abuse disorder. It’s important to tackle certain feelings and underlying addictive reasons when getting help. 

    The Differences Between Addictions and Compulsions 

    There are several differences between compulsions and addictions. However, both of these can be impacted by underlying reasons in a person with an addictive personality. Someone struggling with drug addiction may turn to substances to cope with their anxiety or anger. Someone who experiences compulsions may also feel the impact of anxiety but may not have a full-blown addiction. 

    Both addictions and compulsions can be characterized by people with an addictive personality. However, addictions are fueled by pleasure and reward (at least at the beginning). Compulsions on the other hand are not done out of pleasure. In many cases of addiction, a person is rewarded with a large amount of dopamine. Certain substances cause a surge of this chemical in the brain which can quickly evolve into a habit. Those with an addictive personality may be chasing this pleasure in the form of substances or alcohol. 

    Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction and Addictive Personalities

    A dual diagnosis occurs when a person struggles with both an addiction and a mental disorder. Dual diagnosis is also sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorders. These cases can be extremely complex and tough to overcome. However, no matter how bad things have become, it’s never too late to achieve sobriety and a better life. There are treatment options for both an addictive personality disorder and drug addiction. 

    It’s common for those struggling with an addictive personality to fall into the grip of drug addiction. While this isn’t the case for all cases of an addictive personality, it is a reality for thousands of women every year. If left untreated, a person’s entire life can become consumed by drugs or alcohol. At New Directions for Women, we offer several treatment options with you and your loved ones in mind.addiction personality disorder

    Addictive personality treatment typically requires specific behavioral therapy. The goal of treatment and help is to help a person manage some of their addictive traits. This could be their impulsive habits or neuroticism in general. It’s important to tackle these specific traits head on to avoid addiction and/or relapse down the line. For cases where a person has developed a drug addiction, there are several ways to combat substance and drug addiction. 

    Inpatient Treatment

    Inpatient treatment is one of the most commonly used forms of treatment. During inpatient treatment, a person stays at a trusted facility with 24/7 support and guidance. This type of treatment is recommended for cases of dual diagnosis. Those with untreated addictive personality disorder should consider an inpatient program to help them overcome both their drug habits and addictive personality traits. 

    Intensive Outpatient Treatment

    If a person has a mild or moderate case of addiction, intensive outpatient treatment may be an option. As opposed to inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment allows a person to continue living life back at home. Instead of staying at a rehab center, a person only attends weekly sessions. This can be a convenient and effective option for women who may have children to take care of or who are busy with work or school. 


    One of the first steps of drug and alcohol addiction is detoxification (detox). Detox is a process that rids the body of all substances and drugs. During the process, a person is carefully monitored and helped by our passionate and qualified staff. Medical detox is always recommended because some of the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpredictable and dangerous if detox is done alone. 

    Start Your Journey at New Directions for Women

    We help women from all walks of life tackle their drug and alcohol addiction with care and patience. Whether you or a loved one struggles with an addictive personality, it’s not too late to get help. We offer many types of treatment catered to you and your loved ones. Start your journey today and start living a better, brighter life. Contact us today to learn more about our facility and how we can help you. 

    Clinically Reviewed By:

    Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

    Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

    Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our patients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

    Medically Reviewed By:

    Dr. Alejandro Alva, M.D., Consulting Medical Director

    Dr. Alejandro Alva, M.D., Consulting Medical Director

    Alejandro Alva, MD, has a focus on substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment and general psychiatric disorders. Dr. Alva earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, and completed medical school at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Mexico. He then returned to California, where he completed his psychiatric residency at the University of California, Irvine.

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