Dimensions of personality and neuropsychological function in eating disorders, substance use disorders, and addictions

Carolyn M. Pearson, Leila Guller, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Substance abuse, eating disorders, and other addictive behavior problems tend to be comorbid with personality disorders and with dimensions of personality pathology. Substance abuse and pathological gambling tend to be highly comorbid with antisocial personality disorder, whereas eating disorders are often comorbid with both Cluster B and Cluster C personality disorders. These comorbidities can increase symptom severity and compromise treatment. Negative emotionality, negative urgency, and sensation seeking correlate with most forms of addictive behavior, although anorexia nervosa appears quite different and is associated with lower levels of novelty seeking and high levels of self-directedness and perfectionism. Well-developed neurobiological models of brain system functioning and neurotransmitter plasticity paint a picture of how the initially impulsive engagement in addictive behaviors can become compulsive over time. Behavioral and pharmacological treatment strategies emphasize renewed engagement in nondrug pleasurable activities, and new treatments are being developed that target the specific personality pathology of the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEating Disorders, Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Clinical and Treatment Perspectives
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783642453786
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. All rights reserved.


  • Addiction
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Eating disorders
  • Pathological gambling
  • Personality
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance use
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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