Are You Addicted to Drama? This Doctor’s 2-Minute Quiz Can Help You Find Out

"Drama addiction" is a growing conversation in the clinical psych world. Here's how to tell if it applies to you or someone you know.

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We all know someone who’s addicted to drama—that person who creates mountains out of molehills, who seems to jump from one major life crisis to the next, whose very presence feels like a tornado of chaos (even when it makes for some mild entertainment). Perhaps it’s a family member, someone we work with, or even ourselves.

The truth is that many licensed counselors would probably highlight the notion that an individual who’s addicted to drama isn’t living at the nucleus of these messes for fun. Drama addiction often comes from learned experience—having spent formative parts of our lives in the middle, or on the sidelines, of turbulent situations often within our family or home.

And for as colloquial as the term “drama queen” is, having a penchant for drama hasn’t been heavily examined through a clinical lens…until now. In the May 2023 book Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others, publisher Hachette Go says Dr. Scott Lyons, PhD, DO—a doctor of osteopathy, clinical psychologist and mind-body expert—”turns the notion of the ‘drama queen’ on its head, showing that drama is actually an addiction and those who are suffering with it are experiencing a much deeper psychological, biological, and social pain,” according to the publisher’s press materials.

Dr. Lyons shared this quiz exclusively with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest to invite you to journey into the science of drama addiction. It’s only when we clearly identify a problem that we can begin to search for ways to manage it.

While this drama addiction quiz is not meant to be a formal diagnosis of an addiction to drama, it can help illuminate just how present the traits and behaviors are in you.

And, let’s face it: Everyone’s life has a bit of drama. If this drama addiction quiz informs you that you’re a little “extra” on the drama spectrum, Dr. Lyons’ book may be a brilliant start to healing, as the book includes specific chapters that can inform and help you based on your results to this quiz.

Quiz: Are you addicted to drama?

Rate the following statements on how accurately they represent your experience of yourself. Tally up the number of times you select each response to determine your results.

  1. I’m told by others that I’m dramatic, overreactive, or overly sensitive.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. After interacting with people they say to me, “Wait, what just happened?!”, “Woah, I don’t know where that’s coming from?!” or “That was intense!”
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1.  I make mountains out of molehills. My reactions are bigger than what makes sense to other people.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I crave extreme situations and sensations (i.e. pleasure, intensity, or pain).
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I think about past events or conversations on a loop—reliving them as if I could say something or do something different.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I live in the past and the future rather than the present—through compulsive worry, repetitive thoughts, stories, or imagining troubles in the future.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I sense that another person or the world conspires against me, and I wonder, “Why me?” I also say things like “It’s always something!”
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I get consumed by social media and comparing myself to others.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I get caught up in my emotions and feel drained afterward.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I retell the same emotional story to different audiences, so that I can vent continually.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I become reactive or go from zero to a hundred very quickly.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always
  1. I feel a sense of unease or agitation; I feel restless or overwhelmed by other people, events, relationships, or the world.
    • Never
    • Seldom
    • Sometimes
    • Frequently
    • Always

If you answered mostly Never:

It sounds like you’re easygoing and pretty drama-free. However, you might be surprised to find out that we all have a little drama inside—and in fact, as more and more people get pulled into crisis and chaos through social media, it becomes contagious to the rest of us and appears in ways we may not even be conscious of.

To learn more about the global pandemic of drama and how stress is contagious, read Chapter 9, entitled “Overstimulated and Underconnected: The Global Drug of Drama,” in Dr. Lyons’ book, Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others.

If you answered mostly Seldom

Oh, you have a little drama here and a little drama there.  By the sounds of it, your propensity for crisis and chaos is relatively minimal. Or, sometimes, we need a bit more information to fully determine whether the tendency for drama is there.

To figure that out, fitting chapters may be Chapter 1 – “The Storm Chaser; the Storm Creator: Identifying Someone Who Is Addicted to Drama” and Chapter 9 – “Overstimulated and Underconnected: The Global Drug of Drama.”

If you answered mostly Sometimes or Frequently:

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Wait, am I the drama?” Well, based on this drama addiction quiz, the answer is yes. The drama knows where to find you, and you know where to find the drama. You’re a good soul who has been faced with the need to adapt some survival strategies that may no longer serve you or your relationships. Awareness of your propensity for chaos and crisis is the first step to living a better and more easeful life! If you’re interested in truly leaving the stress behind, we got you!

We recommend reading Chapter 5 – “Building the Perfect Storm: The Baseline of an Addiction to Drama” and Chapter 6 – “Wired for Drama: The Role of Stress.”

If you answered mostly Always:

You know a lot about crisis and chaos; it’s likely how you’ve survived in this world. It may be what was modeled in your family or what you’ve internalized from your early environment. Perhaps it is your way of protecting yourself from an underlying pain or trauma, and you unknowingly sought and created the drama as a way to feel more alive. Perhaps the drama fueled a sense of importance and purpose. Whatever the reason, awareness of your propensity for chaos and crisis is the first step to living a better and more easeful life!

If you’re interested in truly leaving the stress behind, we recommend reading the inspiring stories of healing an addiction to drama in Chapter 10 – “Breaking, Finding, Releasing, and Learning: Stories of Healing” in Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others.

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Dr. Scott Lyons
Dr. Scott Lyons is a licensed holistic psychologist, educator and author of the book Addicted to Drama: Healing Dependency on Crisis and Chaos in Yourself and Others, with Hachette publishing. As a renowned body-based trauma expert, Doctor of Osteopathy (Spain) and Mind-Body Medicine specialist, Scott helps people to break free from cycles of pain, limited beliefs, and trauma. Scott is an innovator in transformative wellness and trauma therapy, teaching over half a million people internationally over the past twenty years how to relieve stress and restore vitality. Scott has worked with many of the country’s top leaders and CEOs as an executive coach and wellness consultant. Scott is the creator of The Embody Lab—the largest online learning platform for body-based trauma therapies—and developer of Somatic Stress Release™, a holistic process of restoring biological resilience, taught in over 20 countries. Scott is also the founder and progressive designer of Omala, a wellness brand dedicated to creating sustainably sourced tools for transformation. Scott is a Certified Body-Mind Centering™ Teacher and Practitioner, Cranio-Sacral Therapist, Visceral Manipulation Therapist, Neuro-Developmental Therapist, Infant Developmental Movement Educator, Registered Movement Therapist and Educator, Trauma Therapist, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Thai Massage Practitioner, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness-based Executive Coach, Experiential Anatomy/ Developmental Movement and Yoga Practitioner, and a 500-hour registered yoga teacher. Additionally Scott holds a BFA in Theater/Psychology, MFA in Dance/Choreography, MS in Clinical Psychology, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Mind-Body Medicine. Scott has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, ForbesWomen, Fast Company, Fortune, Bustle, and Reader’s Digest. He has also appeared on The Jordan Harbinger Show, The Mental Illness Happy Hour, The Human Upgrade, The Genius Life, and The Chopra Well.