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Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse

Whether a person is a covert narcissist, alcoholic with narcissistic personality traits, or a person with a dual diagnosis, finding a treatment program that meets their needs is very important. The bottom line is that all alcoholics are not narcissists, but everyone with an addiction acts selfishly to some degree. Their selfishness, lying and disregard for the pain they cause their loved ones may come across as narcissistic. But a narcissist is someone who feels more important than others and demands to be seen as such, either verbally or through their actions. A narcissist may use their addiction as a way to justify their behavior. They might say all alcoholics lie, that their addiction causes them to emotionally shut-off and they can’t be blamed for their drinking because it is an addiction. This can cause a person with NPD to feel like an outcast when what they desperately want is to be the star of the show. This, in turn, can lead to drug and alcohol abuse to try and cope with the discrepancies between their fantasy and reality. Mental health and substance abuse issues commonly go together.

  • Below, we’ll dive into just how strong the link between narcissism and alcoholism is, the similarities and differences of these disorders, and what to do if you or someone you love shares these traits.
  • Narcissism is a personality disorder and mental health condition.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is a Cluster B personality disorder in which a person’s idea of his or herself is unnaturally heightened and often leads to both social and interpersonal consequences.
  • Alcoholics will say they can stop drinking anytime they want.
  • When individuals with either disorder feel as if they are not receiving an adequate amount of attention or substances , they will experience anxiety, depression, and other adverse psychological effects.

When a loved one fails to meet these needs, the narcissist sees it as betrayal and responds accordingly. If this family member also has issues with substance abuse, then you’ve probably found it impossible to get him or her to admit there’s even a problem, let alone agree to go to rehab. If you hope to get your narc into recovery, you have to first get him to admit there’s a problem and that he’s got an addiction he can’t control – and if you know narcissists, you know they might never get there. Both conditions may cause someone to engage in similar behaviors.

Facets of grandiose narcissism predict involvement in health-risk behaviors

The findings of this study have potential implications for future treatment and research. For example, different prevention and treatment methods can be developed for individuals high in either grandiose or vulnerable narcissism. Treatment programs for vulnerable narcissists might focus on negative expectations while grandiose narcissists might need to focus more on recognition of problems. Future research should evaluate potential mechanisms driving these associations, such as mediators that might explain associations or moderators that might strengthen relationships found in this study. For example, perhaps types of drinking motives (e.g., conformity or coping) differentially mediate the relationship between narcissism subtypes and alcohol outcomes. Moderators such as positive or negative affect or reward sensitivity might affect the strength of the associations found in this study. In addition, future research could include more ethnically diverse samples to determine if the associations found here differ for students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Diagnosing co-occurring disorders can be difficult because the two conditions often affect each other and have overlapping symptoms. With dual diagnosis patients, it is always vital to obtain treatment for both disorders at the same time.
narcissism and alcohol abuse
In a similar fashion, individuals with substance use disorder sometimes display narcissistic traits. To continue, individuals with narcissism may struggle from feelings of isolation that cause a compulsion to self-medicate with substances. Individuals with NPD may be distrustful of, insecure about, or feel superior to those around them – causing them to be unable to connect with their peers. However, it is very possible to overcome a dual diagnosis of narcissism and addiction. When treating NPD and substance abuse, it’s important to understand the link between a person’s addiction and the co-occuring mental disorder that often fuels it. With proper, focused therapy, a person can get the treatment they need to healthily control the effects of NPD and break free of the bonds of their substance abuse. In addition to problem recognition, important factors that might maintain or change drinking behavior are expectancies and evaluations of problems. Although you may be convinced you’re dealing with a narcissist and that they have an alcohol use disorder, only a qualified healthcare provider can make a formal diagnosis. Beyond that, only the person with narcissism or with an alcohol use disorder can do the work involved in changing their narcissistic thought patterns and drinking behaviors. You can help by seeking support for yourself and knowing when it’s time to enforce more boundaries or leave.

What is Cocaine Rehab Like?

Narcissism can prompt someone to seek fame, even through dangerous or unlawful acts. Loneliness and needing to self-isolate are common in people with BPD — but there are steps you can take to move toward connection and healing. Recovery starts with a single step and continues for a lifetime. All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible. It’s crucial to treat co-occurring disorders at the same time. Alcoholics avoid and hide any underlying shame through drinking. Alcoholics believe that drinking comes first, even at the expense of the needs of their loved ones. Narcissism and alcoholism share similar qualities like being entitled, self-centered, defensive, and dishonest. When you’re caught in the crossfire of someone with these symptoms, recognize that you aren’t responsible for their behavior—as much as they might try to pin it on you or someone else. Narcissists may do whatever it takes to avoid self-reflection.

When individuals do not recover from both ailments, one disorder can trigger a relapse in the other. Therefore, if you or a loved one are displaying signs of a substance abuse disorder, NPD, or any other mental condition, it is vital that you seek professional dual-diagnosis treatment. Let’s learn how to recognize the signs of narcissistic personality disorder, understand how it can contribute to substance abuse, and how you can get help for a loved one. Co-occurring disorders are when an individual simultaneously experiences a form of substance abuse and a mental health disorder. Sober Home Alcohol abuse and narcissism is one of the most common combinations by far. Overall, the results of this study demonstrate the difference between the two types of narcissism and how they relate to alcohol outcomes in a college sample. Grandiose narcissism is a personality factor contributing to the likelihood of alcohol consumption and a good evaluation of alcohol problems. Vulnerable narcissism, on the other hand, emerged as a risk factor for alcohol-related problems. Vulnerable narcissism also contributes to people’s expectation and recognition of alcohol problems.

Addiction and Narcissistic Behavior

A narcissist’s behavior is consistent throughout their life, whether or not they’re using alcohol. Narcissists thrive off of attention and are highly focused on themselves. Likewise, an alcoholic might appear self-absorbed because they put their loved ones’ needs aside for the sake of drinking. When it comes to alcohol addiction and narcissism, there are some uncanny similarities that can leave loved ones confused, frustrated, and emotionally drained. Hingson R, Zha W. Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking. Detoxification is usually the first phase of a comprehensive treatment plan. During this stage, alcohol is removed entirely from the body. Once detox is complete, a person will be able to enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to continue their recovery journey.

In grandiose narcissists, alcohol use can enhance their grandiosity. They may even be proud of it, especially if it makes them stand out. On the other hand, having a narcissistic personality disorder can also make a person vulnerable to alcohol misuse. There’s no significant link between narcissistic personality disorder and substance use relapse. If someone you love needs treatment for alcohol use disorder, there are also new, online options that can make the process easier. In addition to expert medical support, Ria Health’s program includes virtual coaching sessions to help people unlearn self-destructive patterns connected to alcohol.

The neurotic personality of our time

Overt narcissists are also interpersonal exploiters—people who use relationships as a way of getting what they want. But Narcissistic Personality Disorder has specific signs, symptoms, and treatments. Risk factors for NPD include having difficult relationships with parents or caregivers during a person’s developmental years that may include excessive praise or criticism. NPD is a personality disorder, whereas AUD is a substance use disorder. If you feel that any of our contact information to a specific treatment center is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at There are cases of individuals who are addicted narcissists.

Does alcohol alter your personality?

Excessive drinking can impact one's personality by altering their moods and emotions. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcoholism can alter one's personality because of its effects on an individual's brain function especially when there is too much alcohol intake.

The individual may prioritize their own welfare above others at all costs. Someone with narcissism may use alcohol to cope with their personal problems. They may drink alone to conceal their insecurity from the rest of the world. Alcohol and narcissism can overlap with each other in several ways. Drinking alcohol can induce a sense of confidence and ease. This can fuel the feelings of self-importance in someone with narcissism. Answer these questions and you can be part of the solution for alcoholism and narcissism.

Following alcohol guidelines can help people stay within moderate levels of alcohol consumption. For females, it is not advisable to consume more than one unit of alcohol per day. For males, the guidelines advise no more than two units per day. Both conditions may influence the other, and some symptoms or behaviors of each condition can overlap. As the saying goes, “You get self-esteem from doing estimable things.” If one seeks self-esteem from outside sources it will not last because it is not cultivated from within. narcissism and alcohol abuse As children, it is important that our parents praise and encourage us as we grow; we internalize their values and standards, and those of our teachers and other significant figures. Once those values and standards have become a part of us, we must live up to them if we’re to feel good about ourselves. Calls to numbers dedicated to a specific treatment center will be routed to that treatment center. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at
narcissism and alcohol abuse

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Créa Stone