Disorders by Enneagram Type
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While the Enneagram is a powerful tool for transformation,
transformational work is not possible for those actively abusing addictive
medications, alcohol, or controlled substances. Those suffering from
substance abuse problems must become "sober" on a regular basis
before they can sustain any in-depth inquiry into their true nature. Abuse
and neglect make it almost impossible to develop the sensitivity and
attention necessary to observe oneself with any clarity.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to support the addictive
personality in breaking free of various forms of addictions, including
books, workshops, support groups, therapy, and even inpatient care. The
Enneagram is not a substitute for those resources, but combined with them,
can be extremely helpful in understanding the roots of the addictive
All nine Enneagram
personality types can have any kind of addiction, and all nine types can
be codependent. We find some tendencies toward certain addictions in the
Enneagram types, however, and offer the following correlations as a
beginning guideline. They are not all-inclusive and are not intended to be a
complete discussion of this complex problem. Note also that the addictions
and disorders listed below apply not only to each Enneagram personality
type, but also each type's Direction
The following material is taken from The
Wisdom of the Enneagram (pages 350-352), and is offered as a preliminary
study of which addictive behaviors and other imbalances coincide with each
personality type. These observations are not meant to be all-inclusive or to
complete, only that they are a useful starting place for studying this
important application of the Enneagram.
Be sure, however, that you or someone else you are applying this
information to is correctly typed. You can take the scientifically validated
Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI Version 2.5) on this website. Also, be
aware that the types connected by a line on the Enneagram from your basic
personality type may also show up in your own pattern of addictions,
imbalances, and substance abuse.
Disorders & Addictions of the Types
1 The Reformer
Excessive use of diets, vitamins, and cleansing techniques
(fasts, diet pills, enemas). Under-eating for self-control: in extreme
cases anorexia and bulimia. Alcohol to relieve tension.
2 The Helper
Abusing food and over-the-counter medications. Bingeing,
especially on sweets and carbohydrates. Over-eating from feeling
"love-starved." Hypochondria to look for sympathy.
3 The Achiever
Over-stressing the body for recognition. Working out to
exhaustion. Starvation diets. Workaholism. Excessive intake of coffee,
stimulants, amphetamines, cocaine, steroids or excessive surgery for
4 The Individualist
Over-indulgence in rich foods, sweets, alcohol to alter mood,
to socialize, and for emotional consolation. Lack of physical
activity. Bulimia. Depressants. Tobacco, prescription drugs, or heroin
for social anxiety. Cosmetic surgery to erase rejected features.
5 The Investigator
Poor eating and sleeping habits due to minimizing needs.
Neglecting hygiene and nutrition. Lack of physical activity.
Psychotropic drugs for mental stimulation and escape, narcotics for
6 The Loyalist
Rigidity in diet causes nutritional imbalances ("I don't
like vegetables.") Working excessively. Caffeine and amphetamines
for stamina, but also alcohol and depressants to deaden anxiety.
Higher susceptibility to alcoholism than many types.
The type most prone to addictions: stimulants (caffeine, cocaine, and
amphetamines), Ecstasy, psychotropics, narcotics, and alcohol but tend
to avoid other depressants. Wear body out with effort to stay
"up." Excessive cosmetic surgery, pain killers.
Ignore physical needs and problems: avoid medical visits and
check-ups. Indulging in rich foods, alcohol, tobacco while pushing
self too hard leads to high stress, strokes, and heart conditions.
Control issues central, although alcoholism and narcotic addictions
9 The Peacemaker
Over-eating or under-eating due to lack of self-awareness and
repressed anger. Lack of physical activity. Depressants and
psychotropics, alcohol, marijuana, narcotics to deaden loneliness and
For more information about all of the Enneagram addictive personality
types and the self-defeating patterns they form with themselves and in
their relationships, see the Enneagram type
descriptions and the books Personality
Types and The
Wisdom of the Enneagram from which the above chart has been taken. For
practices that can be helpful to the types to overcome their addictions
and imbalances, see Understanding
the Enneagram and Enneagram