The phrase “addictive personality” will get tossed all-around a good deal these times. The fundamental plan: While most men and women can have a cocktail, get a lottery ticket, or even experiment with medicines with out finding hooked, those people born with a precise identity kind are wired to slide down the rabbit gap of dependancy the moment they get their initial sip, smoke, or chunk.

You may well marvel: Do I have an addictive identity?

“Addictive identity is not an genuine psychiatric diagnosis,” claims Michael Weaver, MD, health-related director of the Middle for Neurobehavioral Analysis on Addiction at the College of Texas Well being Science Middle at Houston. “Personalities are really elaborate, and though there’s not a single precise kind which is much more inclined to dependancy than many others, there are many elements that can merge to make you much more probably to come to be addicted.”

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

You may well have anything in your genes: “It has unquestionably been confirmed above and above again that there is a genetic ingredient to dependancy,” Weaver claims. For instance, by finding out twins as very well as youngsters who were being born to addicted mother and father but then adopted by non-addicted family members, experts have located that your genes are accountable for about 50 percent your likelihood for turning into addicted.

Genes on your own aren’t enough: Even if you occur from a family members with a lengthy record of dependancy, it does not suggest you’re destined to observe in their footsteps. Numerous other elements, this kind of as the mates you hold out with, your training, your social assist, and the ecosystem you improve up in will all enjoy a part in regardless of whether you come to be addicted. 

Study much more: Can you be addicted to food stuff?

“You just can’t exhibit addictive behaviors to a compound unless you’re exposed to that compound,” claims J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at Harvard Health care College.

Yes, if you have a single dependancy, you are much more probably to have a different: Scientific tests of college pupils confirm that if you’re addicted to a single thing, say alcohol, you are much more probably to have an extra dependancy, like cigarettes. That may well be partly mainly because of genetics and partly mainly because of what is all-around you: “If you have been in a situation in which there is alcohol or medicines available, there are possibly also going to be cigarettes there, also,” Weaver claims.


There’s no health-related examination to determine who may well produce an dependancy, but there are selected identity qualities that are much more common amongst men and women who have addictions:

A love of excitement: Driving speedy, getting dangers, acquiring sexual flings, and accomplishing medicines all present a rush of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that will make you truly feel pleasure. Addictive men and women crave that surge in dopamine much more than many others, Boyd claims.

The need for much more to get the very same thrill: “People who are inclined to dependancy say the greatest they ever felt in their life was the initial time they attempted heroin or experienced a consume,” Boyd claims. As their dependancy grows, they produce tolerance and need to eat larger portions at a higher frequency to check out to re-produce that initial buzz.

Impulsivity: Scientific tests that appeared at the brains of addicts located they’re much more probably to make snap choices with out looking at the lengthy-time period repercussions.

Inability to quit: A man or woman carries on to request out the compound or actions even when it will get in the way of family members, task, training, and mates, Boyd claims.

The vital thing to try to remember is that your identity does not determine your destiny, Weaver claims: “You can get assistance and direct a thriving, successful life.” The initial step, he provides, is acknowledging the probable challenge — and just by inquiring you regardless of whether you have an addictive identity, you’re previously on the suitable track.



Michael Weaver, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences health-related director, Middle for Neurobehavioral Analysis on Addiction, The College of Texas Well being Science Middle at Houston.

J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, psychiatrist, Cambridge Well being Alliance assistant professor, Harvard Health care College.

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

Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drug Information: Knowledge Drug Abuse and Addiction,” “Addiction Science,” “Drugs, Brains, and Habits: The Science of Addiction,” “Twin Scientific tests Aid Define the Job of Genes in Vulnerability to Drug Abuse,” “Promising Improvements Towards Knowledge the Genetic Roots of Addiction.”

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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