Recovering Drug Addict Personality Traits

In this article, you will learn all about recovering drug addict personality traits so you can easily recognize people who have a higher risk of becoming an addict.

Do you notice changes in the behavior of a family member or someone you love? Is the individual always agitated, distracted, or withdrawn?

If so, addiction might be to blame. In fact, addiction due to alcohol, drugs, or gambling is much more common today than one realizes.

Highly addictive drugs such as opioids take hold of someone quickly compared to other drugs.

What Is An Addictive Personality?

“Addictive personality” is a term used to describe an individual who is more likely to become addicted to alcohol or drugs.

The whole process is not so black and white because a single personality type doesn’t set someone up for addiction.

There are a few personality traits that are very common among individuals who are addicted to substances. They are unable to handle stress, impulsive, unaccountable, and lack empathy.

11 Personality Traits Of Recovering Drug Addicts

How to identify someone who is addicted to a substance?

Yes, addiction can change someone quickly. These people have common personality traits that let you easily identify them.

If you are wondering what are the personality traits of an addict, keep reading this article to learn 11 of the most common personality traits of a person with an addiction-plus, and how to help them.

1. Secretive

Addicts prefer to act secretive. Most of them prefer to hide their drug or alcohol addiction from people close to them.

These people usually sneak off from social situations without any reason and may suddenly leave the room to take a phone call.

In fact, they withhold information about whom they have been spending time with, where they have been, and where they are going. Most people think addiction is a shameless thing.

So they don’t like other people knowing that they are addicted to substances. Hence, their secret activities raise more red flags for family members and friends who know them well.

2. Dishonest

An addictive personality is dishonest and frequently lying.

These people usually lie when asked about how they spent the money. They may ask you for money for different reasons other than the truth.

It’s disheartening to see someone you have trusted for so long becoming a liar.

Unfortunately, the addiction in these people is so strong that the desire to keep their addiction alive overrides morality issues.

They may steal, be dishonest, and manipulate others to get what they want.

3. Impatient

If you have a family member who is always in a hurry, you should be cautious about his/her behavior.

These people are usually frigid, anxious, and always in a hurry to leave.

With some strong drugs, this can be due to the physical side effects of the drug or withdrawal symptoms. The person is actually in a hurry to continue using the drug.

If your loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, he or she may find it difficult to make it through a sober event such as a child’s birthday, a day at work, or even running an errand.

These people always want to leave early or start to get angry when they have to stay with you for longer than expected. They may suddenly go to the bathroom or their car for no reason.

If someone in your family is always impatient and angry for no valid reason, you should be cautious of his or her behavior. If you suspect drug addiction, you should learn about substance abuse treatment programs in the area.

4. Low Self-Esteem and Lack of Confidence

Studies show that people dealing with drug addiction have lower self-esteem compared to people who are not.

If a family member feels he or she is not good enough, worthless, or lack self-confidence, they may turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Most of the addictive substances including alcohol and opioids are depressants.

Using such substances can make someone feel even lower than he or she already was.

This can turn into a vicious cycle over time. If you notice someone in your family losing interest in work, feeling hopeless for no reason, or constantly feeling unhappy, you should try to talk to these people and get them some help.

5. Unpredictable

Many addicts are unpredictable.

Extreme mood swings are quite common in these people due to the impact of drugs and alcohol.

They may seem to have irrational actions and new behavior patterns. The addict may be very pleasant and happy one day and quite angry and difficult the next day.

Depending on how they use the drug, these people might be constantly up and down throughout the day.

You never know how a drug addict will react or behave. Hence, being around such a person can be quite scary. The unpredictable actions of these people drive away friends and family since no one likes to be around an unpredictable individual.

6. Denial

Drug addicts are always in denial and are close-minded about their addiction. This is one of the most challenging parts of dealing with such a person.

The addict will be quick to deny that they have an issue and may shut down the conversation if you try to talk to them about their addiction.

Loved ones can get easily frustrated with such behavior.

Hence, a trained professional should approach the addict and mediate challenging conversations. Our model of care revolves around helping families with addicts.

7. Antisocial

Addicts often have antisocial personalities.

These people will no longer show interest in things they used to love. They will shy away from associating with friends, going out for movies or meals, playing team sports, and so on.

Addicts like to stay alone and turn away from their friends and hobbies. They will focus only on their addiction.

If a family member frequently cancels plans or isn’t interested in things they used to enjoy, it may be a sign of drug addiction.

8. Inability to Handle Stress

Learning how to handle stress is a part of growing up and becoming an adult.

But people who constantly avoid negative feelings or challenging situations are missing out on developing coping skills.

If a person uses alcohol or drugs to self-medicate stress and negative feelings, they are not learning healthy ways to manage their emotions and deal with stress.

In fact, alcohol and drugs provide a temporary escape from these unpleasant feelings. But it will lead to addiction in the long run.

9. Impulsivity

Addicts repeatedly take risks without thinking about the potential consequences of their actions.

They will even continue to take risks after experiencing negative consequences. Sensation-seeking or impulsive behavior means anything from stealing from a loved one and drinking and driving to experimenting with alcohol and drugs.

It’s an adrenalin rush or the desire for novelty that could predict a propensity for addiction.

Testing limits and risk-taking are normal parts of adolescent development. But overdoing it is different and can mean trouble.

10. Unaccountability

Not taking responsibility is a hallmark characteristic of a drug addict.

If the addict is unable to acknowledge his/her own flaws and how they are contributing to the addiction, they are unable to recognize their substance abuse problem. They will blame everyone else for the problem but not themselves.

11. Lack of Empathy

Being able to understand another person’s emotions is a valuable skill of an individual. It is called empathy.

If a person is not empathic, they do not know how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Also, they do not know how their behavior will affect the other person.

Lack of empathy is quite common among drug and alcohol addicts.

Statistics & Further Reading

There are many factors that can contribute to having an addictive personality. One of the main aspects of addictive personalities that is widely agreed upon throughout the medical community is that it can be genetic. A study that compared 861 pairs of identical twins and 653 pairs of fraternal twins showed that identical twins were more likely to obtain an addiction up to 60 percent more than fraternal twins. Another study also revealed that children who have an immediate family member who struggles with an addiction are eight times more likely to develop an addiction themselves.


Researchers have found that about 25% of adults in treatment for alcohol and substance abuse have been diagnosed with ADHD.

The link between impulsivity and substance abuse can be seen in the high number of people with an ADHD diagnosis who also struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. Impulsivity is one of the defining personality traits associated with ADHD. Researchers have found that about 25% of adults in treatment for alcohol and substance abuse have been diagnosed with ADHD. This makes addiction five to 10 times more common in people with ADHD.


Extreme blame shifting accompanied by a lack of empathy for others is associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). One recent study suggests that about 12% of people with substance abuse problems also meet the criteria for NPD.


Sometimes, if your alarm bells are ringing, there is a good reason. When you bring a recovering addict into your inner circle, their choices and lifestyle can have significant bearing not only on their health and well-being but also your own. As a chronic brain disease, the threat of relapse is ever-present an estimated 40 to 60 percent of addicts relapse and watching someone you love spiral out of control can be one of the most horrific experiences of your life. Of course, not all addicts relapse, and those that do are often able to get back on track before too much damage is done but the threat is there nevertheless.



These personality traits may serve as potential risk factors for drug addiction.

In fact, addictive behavior may vary from person to person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Further Reading

Further reading on the recovering drug addict personality traits:

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