Narcissism and Alcoholism: Similarities, Differences, Diagnosis

Posted: December 28, 2020 by PK in Sober living

You can call American Addiction Institute 24/7 for expert alcoholism treatment and substance use disorder help. Narcissism is a personality trait where people may feel a need for admiration, show a lack of empathy, or be self-involved. It is typical for people to display occasional narcissistic traits, but a pattern of narcissism could be part of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a mental health condition.

Learning healthy coping strategies can help them remain sober when they face triggers. People may be unable to prevent certain factors, such as genetic reasons, that increase the risk of AUD and NPD. However, there are steps they can take to reduce risks within their control. Healthcare professionals and psychologists may use a set of criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose narcissism or AUD.

Diagnosing Alcoholism and Narcissism

Alcohol can influence narcissistic behaviors, such as arrogance, self-importance, and feelings of superiority that aren’t otherwise present when sober. Personality disorders like NPD are those in which a person has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving. Substance abuse disorders like AUD are characterized by mental and physical addiction. Table 1 Summary of the reviewed literature on Dark Triad traits in relation to substance use and addictive behaviors. As for narcissism, a similar relationship exists between an individual’s lifestyle and their childhood when it comes to their condition. Those who regularly receive constant praise or criticism are at risk of developing unhealthy conceptions about their status, among others.

Narcissists don’t enter a room saying Hi, Im Jack, Im a narcissist. However, their dramatic, manipulative or entitled behaviors often announce their narcissism beyond a doubt. From a narcissist’s point of view, he or she has no problems and can do no wrong. Bragging and a damn-the-consequences-swagger are essential parts of many narcissists personae. Narcissists gratify themselves despite the costs to those around them. Alcoholics not in recovery continue drinking even when it hurts loved ones.

Alcoholism: What it is and How it Connects to Narcissism

They may marry, obtain a good job, and even have a family, but there is little peace behind the façade. To cope with the crippling self-doubt and self-hatred, many will turn to drugs and/or alcohol. Studies have shown links between narcissistic behavioral patterns and substance abuse issues (Calvert-Conley, 2020). Excessive drinking or drug use can cause a narcissist to spiral into destructive behavior, thus attracting attention and care from others. Drugs and alcohol can make them feel better about themselves or more control their perceived negative attributes by lifting their untreated depression and anxiety.

Substance use and addiction might be more related to stimulation seeking and impulsivity. In this article, we review associations between the Dark Triad of personality (narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) and addictive behaviors, both substance-related and non-substance-related. We summarize evidence from personality and clinical research and integrate it with prevailing models of addiction. Specifically, we discuss addictive behavior in the light of affect regulation, which is likely more relevant in narcissism, as well as inhibitory deficits, a putative mechanism in psychopathy. These mechanisms can be related to central motives of the respective personality constructs, such as stabilization of self-esteem in narcissism and impulsive stimulation seeking in psychopathy.

How to determine the cause of your loved one’s behavior.

It is important to remember that no two people are the same, so there needs to be a tailored approach to each individual’s needs. It is a well established fact that substance abusers often also have one or more personality disorders (PD). Verheul et al. (1995) recently reviewed the empirical literature on this topic, and found a usual co-occurrence of 40% among alcoholics and 79% among drug abusers in treatment.

alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder

Through the study of alcoholism narcissism psychopathology, research-based treatment methods are employed to help a patient recover from both conditions and lead a happy life. When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, this can be extremely difficult and draining. The situation elevates and can become much worse when dealing with a narcissistic narcissism and alcoholism alcohol or drug addict. Narcissism frequently has other symptoms such as depression, bipolar disorder (BPD), anxiety, and drug or alcohol abuse disorder. It can feel impossible to escape this situation, especially if you care for that person. We hope this article helps you understand how to help a narcissistic alcoholic or addict.

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available. Many of the symptoms of NPD are thought to be the result of a sensitive or vulnerable ego. While they may not show it outwardly, criticism is especially unbearable for a narcissist. They may dwell on it, or be haunted by it, and end up enraged or retaliating. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, complicated disease that is hallmarked by an unmanageable compulsion to drink alcohol. Regardless of consequences, an alcoholic will find a reason to drink, even if they have to make one up and deny the actual repercussions.

You may start by seeing your health care provider, or you may be referred you to a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Both narcissists and alcoholics will use anybody they can to get their fix. By the same token, alcoholics sacrifice their health, well-being, reputation, relationships and self-esteem unless they seek help. If someone you know has alcoholic narcissist symptoms, don’t neglect your own needs. Being close with an alcoholic narcissist can be emotionally draining, and it’s crucial to take care of yourself. 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.

1It needs to be noted, though, that the effects are heterogeneous for the three traits, and particularly narcissism, is also related to reports of subjective well-being. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Heavy alcohol use often goes hand-in-hand with a range of psychological issues. Consider taking a trusted family member or friend along to help remember the details. In addition, someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask helpful questions or share important information. Narcissists view others in terms of what they can do for the narcissist.

  • In many therapy formats, individuals are supported in developing healthy coping mechanisms for managing their triggers.
  • However, alcoholism does increase narcissistic behaviors and tendencies.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse complicates narcissistic personality disorder and worsens side effects such as depression and anxiety.

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