The phrase “addictive personality” will get tossed about a whole lot these days. The fundamental idea: Even though most folks can have a cocktail, obtain a lottery ticket, or even experiment with medications with no receiving hooked, those people born with a specific identity style are wired to fall down the rabbit gap of habit the minute they get their 1st sip, smoke, or chunk.

You may possibly question: Do I have an addictive identity?

“Addictive identity is not an true psychiatric diagnosis,” suggests Michael Weaver, MD, healthcare director of the Heart for Neurobehavioral Investigate on Dependancy at the University of Texas Health Science Heart at Houston. “Personalities are quite advanced, and whilst there’s not one specific style which is additional prone to habit than other individuals, there are various factors that can mix to make you additional probable to become addicted.”

Investigate scientific tests are ongoing, but here’s what we know:

You may possibly have anything in your genes: “It has certainly been tested about and about yet again that there is a genetic component to habit,” Weaver suggests. For illustration, by studying twins as very well as little ones who were born to addicted dad and mom but then adopted by non-addicted people, experts have found that your genes are accountable for about half your probability for starting to be addicted.

Genes by yourself aren’t plenty of: Even if you occur from a family members with a long historical past of habit, it doesn’t signify you’re destined to observe in their footsteps. Lots of other factors, these types of as the buddies you hang out with, your instruction, your social support, and the setting you mature up in will all engage in a portion in irrespective of whether you become addicted. 

Understand additional: Can you be addicted to food stuff?

“You can not show addictive behaviors to a material except if you’re uncovered to that material,” suggests J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical College.

Sure, if you have one habit, you’re additional probable to have a further: Experiments of university pupils ensure that if you’re addicted to one matter, say alcoholic beverages, you are additional probable to have an added habit, like cigarettes. That may possibly be partly due to the fact of genetics and partly due to the fact of what’s about you: “If you’ve been in a circumstance exactly where there is alcoholic beverages or medications available, there are in all probability also likely to be cigarettes there, also,” Weaver suggests.


There is no healthcare test to identify who may possibly build an habit, but there are particular identity attributes that are additional frequent between folks who have addictions:

A really like of pleasure: Driving quick, taking threats, possessing sexual flings, and carrying out medications all give a hurry of dopamine, a chemical in the mind that would make you truly feel pleasure. Addictive folks crave that surge in dopamine additional than other individuals, Boyd suggests.

The want for additional to get the exact same thrill: “People who are prone to habit say the greatest they at any time felt in their lifestyle was the 1st time they tried using heroin or experienced a consume,” Boyd suggests. As their habit grows, they build tolerance and want to eat bigger portions at a bigger frequency to check out to re-build that original excitement.

Impulsivity: Experiments that seemed at the brains of addicts found they’re additional probable to make snap choices with no thinking about the long-expression penalties.

Incapability to quit: A man or woman continues to seek out out the material or conduct even when it will get in the way of family members, work, instruction, and buddies, Boyd suggests.

The important matter to remember is that your identity doesn’t identify your fate, Weaver suggests: “You can get enable and lead a successful, effective lifestyle.” The 1st action, he adds, is acknowledging the prospective challenge — and just by inquiring your self irrespective of whether you have an addictive identity, you’re now on the suitable observe.



Michael Weaver, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences healthcare director, Heart for Neurobehavioral Investigate on Dependancy, The University of Texas Health Science Heart at Houston.

J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, psychiatrist, Cambridge Health Alliance assistant professor, Harvard Medical College.

American Culture of Dependancy Medicine: “The Definition of Dependancy.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug Info: Being familiar with Drug Abuse and Dependancy,” “Addiction Science,” “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Dependancy,” “Twin Experiments Assist Determine the Purpose of Genes in Vulnerability to Drug Abuse,” “Promising Advances Toward Being familiar with the Genetic Roots of Dependancy.”

Ersche, K. Biological Psychiatry, July 2013.

Greenberg, J. Addictive Behaviors, July 1999.

Kendler, K. JAMA Psychiatry, March 2015.

Kendler, K. JAMA Psychiatry, July 2012.

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