Does Your Personality Type Affect Your Addiction Risk?
Personalities are extremely complex and formed in part by factors including genetics, upbringing, and environment. Some personality types are said to be at higher risk for addiction than others due to the unique ways they act, think, and feel, and how they handle themselves in situations involving drugs and alcohol. But discovering that you have one or more addictive personality traits doesn’t necessarily mean addiction is an inevitable part of your future. If you’re able to recognize risk factors for addiction in you or a loved one who may have an “addictive personality,” you can take steps to lower your risk and benefit from a healthy, sober, and fulfilling lifestyle.
Do you have an addictive personality that may be putting you at risk for drug dependence and addiction? Here are Myers-Briggs personality types most susceptible to addiction, along with other common risk factors for addiction.
Myers-Briggs Types with Addictive Personality Traits
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is a questionnaire people can take to learn more about their personalities, and to find out which of their psychological traits are most dominant. The MBTI uses science-based evidence to categorize personalities into 16 different types. Many people use the MBTI to gain a better understanding of themselves and others, and to learn how to capitalize and make the most of their strongest personality traits.
In general, the people most likely to abuse drugs and alcohol are introverts who experience fewer positive emotions than others. Researchers say extroverts are less likely to suffer from addiction because they tend to be more sensitive to other rewards in life that compete with the positive feelings triggered by drug use. For example, extroverts who benefit from popularity in social settings or who earn promotions at work may thrive on the positive emotions generated by these experiences versus the euphoric feelings associated with drug use.
Introverts who have less interest in these types of rewards are often more easily swayed by the euphoric and pleasurable effects of drugs and alcohol. Other types of personalities susceptible to addiction are those with the tendency to experience negative emotions like anxiety and depression, and those who are unable to effectively manage stress.
Are you at risk for addiction based on your Myers-Briggs personality type? Take a look at the following Myers-Briggs personalities that may possess addictive personality traits.
ISFJ — Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging
People in this group are generally quiet, down-to-earth, considerate, and responsible, and pay close attention to specific things about the people who are most important to them. But ISFJs also tend to internalize their feelings, and put the needs of others above their own. These individuals may use drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with negative feelings, as well as the everyday stressors and demands associated with managing responsibilities for themselves and others.
INFJ — Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging
This group tends to be highly organized and decisive, and enjoys seeking meaning and connection in relationships, ideas, and material items. But INFJs also strive for perfectionism to the point it may eventually become detrimental to their overall well-being. A constant strive for perfectionism can lead to negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and frustration — symptoms an INFJ may treat using drugs and alcohol.
INTJ — Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging
This group of introverts have original minds and can usually devise brilliant foolproof strategies for every situation. However, INTJs are also highly independent and tend to struggle in social settings. As a result, they may suffer from social anxiety disorder or submit to peer pressure more easily — both of which are common risk factors for addiction. INTJs may also try using drugs and alcohol to enhance sociability.
ESTP — Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving
This group of extroverts are skilled at practicing mindfulness and spontaneity, and thrive on living in the current moment. However, ESTPs are also highly impulsive and tend to give in to life’s many short-term desires rather than work toward achieving long-term goals. Impulsivity is a risk factor for experimentation and use of dangerous drugs, and is a common trait shared by those who suffer from addiction. ESTPs who receive addiction treatment could benefit from long-term programs that teach them how to work toward achieving the ultimate goal of lifelong sobriety.
ISTP — Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving
ISTPs tend to be quiet, observational, factual, and highly analytical. But while this group of introverts are brilliant at figuring out how to get things done, these personality types usually don’t act on their ideas. ISTPs tend to be more passive and susceptible to negative emotions like regret, disappointment, and depression. This group may use drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate and cope with their feelings.
ISFP — Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving
People who identify as ISFP on the Myers-Briggs survey are loyal, kind, and friendly, and tend to be quiet and more sensitive than other personality types. This group strongly dislikes conflict and disagreement, and will usually do anything to avoid confrontation. They may struggle with maintaining relationships or with pursuing certain opportunities that could turn out beneficial if only they had taken time to handle and overcome negative situations. Evidence reveals that the aftermath of this type of stress can lead to drug and alcohol abuse among ISFPs.
ESFP — Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving
ESFPs are often extremely charismatic, outgoing, and accepting. These individuals also tend to be highly spontaneous and enjoy being introduced to new activities and people. But despite their confident, outgoing nature, ESFPs tend to compulsively seek approval from others. This addictive personality trait can make ESFPs more susceptible to peer pressure, as they may use drugs and alcohol to please certain people and fit in with certain crowds.
ENFP — Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving
This Myers-Briggs personality type tends to approach life with great confidence and excitement surrounding trying new experiences. But ENFPs also tend to abandon one thing so they can move on to seeking the next best thing. Unfortunately, this personality trait can lead to problems with drug dependence and addiction when ENFPs experiment with new substances and get hooked on experiencing euphoria or chasing the dragon.
What Are Other Common Risk Factors for Addiction?
Setting personality types aside, there are many factors that can increase a person’s risk for addiction. Some people become addicted to prescription drugs after misreading the dosage information on their prescription bottles, while others become addicted to alcohol as a result of drinking every day to relieve work-related stress. Some may have been using drugs and alcohol since their early childhood due to having parents with drug use disorders, while others may have started using drugs and alcohol to mask symptoms of mental illnesses like schizophrenia or PTSD.
Here are common risk factors for addiction.
Some people are raised in families that use drugs and alcohol as part of family traditions and celebrations. Some cultures and religions use drugs and alcohol for the same reasons. If you were brought up and raised to accept drug and alcohol use as part of normal everyday life, you may be more susceptible to addiction. Evidence reveals that early initiation and exposure to drugs at a young age are leading risk factors for addiction.
Genetics & Family History
Addiction can be genetic, which is why many health care centers may ask whether you have a family history of addiction. Research shows that people who are born with fewer dopamine receptors in the brain are more likely to suffer from addiction than those born with a higher number of dopamine receptors. Long-term use of drugs and alcohol can deplete a person’s dopamine receptors and cause them to pass this physiological trait onto their children — putting future generations at risk for addiction.
Family, home, peers, school, and community are all environmental risk factors that can increase the risk for addiction. People who tend to spend lots of time around drugs and alcohol or in places where these substances are easily accessible are at greater risk for addiction compared to the general population. For instance, you may be at risk for addiction if you live around other people who constantly drink alcohol 24/7, or if you work at a hospital where you can access and use addictive medications like benzodiazepines and opioids.
Physical & Emotional Health
Physical health conditions like chronic pain can put people at risk for addiction since they may abuse prescription drugs like opioids or sedatives in an attempt to dull pain. Those who suffer from a poor state of emotional health may use drugs and alcohol to escape or mask negative feelings such as sadness, despair, and worry. Mental health disorders are also common risk factors for addiction, since people may use drugs to self-medicate symptoms for anxiety and depression.
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How Can I Avoid Addiction?
Don’t be alarmed if your Myers-Briggs personality type seems to put you at risk for addiction. Your personality doesn’t determine your fate, but understanding your weaknesses as they may apply to addiction can help you avoid putting yourself at risk. If you do happen to be struggling with addiction and need help, having a deeper understanding of your addictive personality traits can arm you with the confidence and knowledge you need to overcome those barriers and experience a successful recovery.
Think you might have an addictive personality? Here’s what you can do to avoid addiction.
Don’t Use Addictive Substances
If you’re an INTJ who drinks alcohol to feel more sociable at parties, or an ESFP who experiments with new party drugs to fit in at clubs, accept yourself for who you are and make the decision to stop using these addictive substances. All drugs are potentially dangerous and can alter your brain chemistry and physical and emotional state, But some drugs are far stronger than others and can lead to dependence and addiction more quickly. Cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids like heroin are among some of the most addictive drugs used in the U.S. today.
If you meet other risk factors for addiction such as genetics or environment, be aware that you remain at risk, and devise strategies that help you stay away from drugs and alcohol. For instance, invent a list of excuses you can use when refusing alcohol at parties, or receive therapy to overcome a mental health condition like anxiety or depression that puts you at risk for addiction.
Recognize Signs of Dependence
Drug cravings, nausea, and tremors are just some common withdrawal symptoms that indicate you might be physically dependent on drugs or alcohol. People who become tolerant to drugs and alcohol will start using higher amounts to achieve desired effects like euphoria and relaxation. This can lead to physical dependence, which is often marked by withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop using drugs.
Familiarize yourself with signs of drug dependence so you can recognize when it’s time to change your lifestyle habits and behaviors, or get help for addiction. Common signs of drug dependence include insomnia, irritability, and physical urges or cravings to use drugs and alcohol. When left untreated, drug dependence can turn into addiction, which is marked by the inability to stop using drugs and alcohol despite knowing there may be negative consequences.
Get Treatment for Drug Dependence
Drug and alcohol dependence can be safely treated at a drug detox center — many of which now use medications to relieve withdrawal symptoms and help you experience a safer, more comfortable recovery. Professional detox programs allow you to withdraw from drugs and alcohol while under 24/7 medical care and supervision, or with medication-assisted treatment that combines detox with counseling and support group therapy. Overcoming drug and alcohol dependence at a detox center can prevent your drug use from turning into a full-blown addiction.
Getting Help for Drug Dependence or Addiction
Finding an addiction treatment center can be challenging if you’re not sure where to start looking, or if you’re not sure which treatments might benefit you the most as they relate to your addiction. Let Detox.com do all the work for you and locate an accredited treatment center that can help you overcome your drug use disorder in full.
Use our drug detox center directory to browse nearby treatment centers in your city and state, or call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-483-2193 to discuss your options with an addiction counselor. We’ll perform a free insurance benefits check and find a nearby detox center ready to help you rise above addictive personality traits and achieve a healthier, drug-free lifestyle.