Narcissism and Alcoholism: Similarities, Differences, Diagnosis


Traits like narcissism and personality disorders like NPD are long-standing. In order to have a diagnosis of NPD, they’ll have to consistently show the relevant symptoms over a period of many years. Similarly, many people who misuse alcohol might display very few signs of narcissism. Some individuals have both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and an active addiction. Coping with someone with a dual diagnosis can be more difficult than if that person suffered from only narcissism or untreated alcoholism. All personality and substance abuse disorders are diagnosed based on a strict set of criteria described in the DSM-5.

  • Individuals with a NPD feel they can only be understood by special people.
  • While narcissism and alcoholism don’t always occur together, there are some reasons why narcissists might be more prone to developing an alcohol use disorder than the average person.
  • Alternatively, you can access support symptoms for each condition separately.

However, it’s recommended that both conditions are treated at the same time to improve your likelihood of recovery. You might also engage in lifestyle changes and self-care strategies in order to make progress. One such change might be to avoid substances like alcohol if they tend to trigger harmful behavior. To get started, contact a doctor or other healthcare professional, or reach out to a therapist. In other words, those who had narcissistic tendencies were more likely to use alcohol and experience problems because of alcohol use. A 2018 study examined the link between narcissism and alcohol use based on a survey of 345 college students.

Narcissistic Tendencies Of Alcoholics

They may use alcohol to feel more confident, charming, and socially adept, aligning with their belief in superiority. Grandiose narcissists are highly concerned with their self-image and how others perceive them. They may therefore use alcohol as a form of medication to cope with those negative feelings. Although narcissism and alcoholism it is a relatively new phenomenon, social media addiction has been around since the advent of sharing pictures and status updates online. A 2014 study into narcissism and the use of internet pornography found a direct correlation between hours spent viewing pornographic material and the extent of narcissism.

  • It is important to note, however, that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) does not distinguish between types of narcissism.
  • People with narcissistic personality disorders share similar traits with addicts, and both types of narcissistic personality disorder may lead to addiction.
  • Although NPD can’t be cured, someone with NPD can change their behavior if they’re willing to put in the time and effort, according to research from 2018.
  • The constant need for validation, attention, and control can strain relationships to the breaking point, causing emotional distress and damage to the partner or loved ones.
  • Treating NPD can be challenging and may require long-term therapy, but working alongside healthcare professionals can help people reduce symptoms.

Think about a typical alcoholic personality, the way that people with alcoholism relate to others and see themselves. Consider the similarities with the list we shared earlier on abusive personality disorder signs. In summary, whether alcohol is to blame or not, having a person with narcissistic traits in your life can be exhausting and upsetting. Whether or not this person decides to seek treatment, don’t overlook your well-being and your right to a healthy, happy life.

Signs Of Alcoholism

We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. You nor your loved one are under any obligation to commit to an Ark Behavioral Health treatment program when calling our helpline. Individuals with a NPD feel they can only be understood by special people. They take advantage of others, especially to accomplish their own goals.


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Patience, compassion, and ongoing support are key components in helping individuals with alcoholism and narcissism on their path to healing and growth. Alcoholism can exacerbate narcissistic behaviors, as alcohol can lower inhibitions and impair judgment, leading to an amplification of self-centered and entitled behavior. Additionally, alcohol use can provide a temporary escape from feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability, which can be appealing to individuals with narcissistic tendencies. At the core of most narcissistic personality traits and traits of alcoholism is a deep insecurity and low self-esteem that drives their self-destructive behaviors. Convinced of their low self-worth, they act out instead of create healthy relationships with themselves and with others. Suggest that the alcoholic narcissist seek professional help to address both their addiction and narcissistic traits.

Combat Social Anxiety

They fail to keep promises, fulfill obligations, or pay attention to what other people need. At the expense of other people, they focus on themselves and on getting the next drink. In some cases, they want to show off by drinking as much as possible. When drunk, they have an easier time seeing themselves as smarter and more powerful than everyone else.

Both are mental health conditions that can damage relationships, cause personal distress, and undermine a person’s quality of life and sense of well-being. The intersection of alcoholism and narcissism can present complex challenges for individuals and their loved ones. Understanding the dynamics between these two conditions is crucial in providing effective support and treatment. In addition to these symptoms, people with a narcissistic personality disorder may also have difficulty holding down long-term relationships due to their lack of empathy and disturbed interpersonal dynamics. They may be prone to outbursts of anger and have difficulty controlling their emotions. Both narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism are treatable conditions, but getting an alcoholic narcissist to accept help is notoriously difficult.

The takeaway is that the individual needs treatment to make significant changes in their life. Depending on the severity of the problem, residential or inpatient treatment may be necessary. Once detox is completed and sobriety has begun, outpatient therapy can be beneficial. It is also recommended to utilize family or couples counseling to heal relationships as well.

While narcissism is a personality disorder and alcoholism is an addiction, narcissists and alcoholics share several characteristics. Recognizing these commonalities can help you understand and cope with people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, untreated alcoholism, or both. The combination of alcoholism and narcissism can have a significant impact on relationships, both personal and professional. Individuals with narcissistic traits may prioritize their own needs and desires above all else, often disregarding the feelings and well-being of others. This self-centered behavior can lead to strained relationships, conflicts, and emotional abuse. While alcoholism and narcissism are distinct phenomena, there are potential connections between the two.

As with all personality disorders, NPD is a long-standing condition. In order to receive a diagnosis of NPD, someone needs to display the above symptoms over several years. It is important to recognize the impact of alcoholism and narcissism on relationships and seek support and guidance.

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