As far as substance abuse and addiction are concerned, it is clear that there is no single factor responsible.

Individuals who struggle with drug addiction tend to have a variety of factors that contribute to increasing their susceptibility to substance abuse addiction. Both environmental and biological factors seem to play a role, exposure to drugs and a family history of drug abuse being the most common. That having said, the personality of an individual may also have an impact on their susceptibility to drug abuse addiction.

Which Personality Traits are Linked to an Increased Risk of Addiction?

Personality Traits and Addictive BehaviorThe University of Montreal came up with an anti-drug program called ‘Preventure’. This program recently identified the risk factors for drug abuse based on personality traits in teenagers.

The following four key personality traits were identified to put children and teenagers at a greater risk for drug addiction:

  • Impulsivity
  • Sensitivity to anxiety
  • Negative thinking
  • Sensational thinking

Hence, studying personality may greatly help researchers in understanding and treating substance abuse addiction in a better and effective way.

Several studies that attempted to link genes to substance abuse disorder have failed despite the fact that the condition can run in families. This perhaps implies that the link between genes and drug addiction is not direct and personality traits may actually serve as a bridge between the two.

Typically, introverted individuals tend to have fewer positive emotions, be less attracted towards rewards, and are more likely to abuse substances. Moreover, individuals who have a tendency to be stressed or depressed and respond poorly to life stressors may be prone to drug abuse. In addition to this, individuals with low levels of constraint, and an ability to stop an action or behavior once you start it, also have an increased risk of abusing drugs and developing an addiction.

Risky Personalities That are Susceptible to Drug Addiction

Although many personality traits are associated with substance abuse addiction, the following personality types seem to be predominant.

The Impulsive Personality Type
While all individuals like being impulsive from time to time, habitual impulsive behaviors may be a major sign of an addictive personality. Individuals with an impulsive personality may completely disregard possible negative consequences when instant gratification outweighs safety and precaution. This explains why such individuals are prone to developing a drug addiction.

When it comes to recovery, it is crucial for impulsive individuals to identify impulse triggers and practice impulse control.

The Non-Conformist Personality Type
The non-conforming individuals tend to be against certain rules or goals that in general are valued by the society and are likely to have a level of disdain for authority. These individuals are usually unable to recognize and realize the negative impact of their behaviors on their own and others’ lives.

When it comes to recovery, the non-conformists respond quite well to treatment methods and understand the importance of support systems.

The Sensation Seeker Personality Type
Individuals who are sensation seekers are always looking for new, exciting experiences and get bored easily. These individuals tend to be risk takers and adrenaline junkies, and their openness to experimentation is what makes them prone to developing substance addictions.

When it comes to recovery, the sensation seekers usually underestimate the consistent efforts and structure needed to maintain recovery.

The Anxious or Stressed Personality Type
Individuals who struggle with anxiety or stress almost all the time find it difficult to relax and find contentment. From stressed type ‘A’ personalities to those suffering from anxiety disorders, these individuals are susceptible to inclining towards substance abuse for relief and comfort, eventually developing a drug dependency.

When it comes to recovery, the anxious or stressed individuals should learn relaxation techniques and coping methods.

While these personality types may have an increased risk of developing drug abuse addiction, it does not mean they are ‘negative’ in any way. Individuals with type ‘A’ personalities, who are thrill seekers, non-conformists, and risk takers can and do enjoy great success in various areas of life.

Identifying yourself with any of the aforementioned personality types does not dictate that you are predestined to a life of substance addiction. What is important is to recognize certain personality traits when it comes to dealing with drug abuse.

Personality Screening and Better Treatments

The risky personality traits associated with individuals who struggle with drug problems have been linked to several brain systems.

Typically, individuals who experience low levels of positive emotions have fewer receptors of dopamine, a chemical responsible for the feelings of pleasure and reward. And individuals who have fewer dopamine receptors have a decreased sensitivity to the chemical’s effects, which explains why drug users tend to be uninterested in rewards other than drugs.

While it is possible for individuals to be born with fewer dopamine receptors, drug use can also decrease their numbers, possibly affecting personality, making individuals less extroverted, and thereby increasing their risk of drug abuse and addiction.

Drug use has an inevitable effect on an individual’s personality, changing it in a way to make him more vulnerable to substance abuse addiction.

Hence, it is important to understand the brain circuits that determine personality traits to help individuals resist drug abuse and addiction. And this is exactly what drug prevention and intervention-based programs aim to do!

Personality screening serves as an effective tool for identifying mental health issues that accompany drug-seeking behaviors, including depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

The key to preventing and recovering from substance abuse addiction is to learn ways to manage the stressors that come with risky personality traits by using healthy coping mechanisms. Scottsdale Recovery Center offers several methods of therapy that focus on trigger management, and how to cope with stressors that will present themselves throughout your recovery. Call us today, and let’s discuss the best treatment path that fits your needs.


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.