Narcissistic personality disorder is a pattern of grandiose beliefs about oneself and arrogant behavior. People suffering from alcoholism may exhibit matching behaviors, As alcohol abuse and narcissistic personality disorder often co-occur.

Narcissism and Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a progressive brain disease that involves a chemical and psychological reliance on alcohol. Alcohol abuse can cause job loss or strains on relationships and result in challenges functioning after lengths of time without consumption of the substance.

Narcissism involves feelings of self-importance and difficulty accepting fault for one’s mistakes. The disorder usually involves incorrect perceptions about their life and how people think of them. People with narcissism believe their version of reality is accurate and can be unconcerned with the damage that their arrogant and manipulative behavior does to other people.

Maintaining relationships and careers can be challenging when someone has either narcissism or alcoholism because the two conditions often cause arrogance, manipulation, belligerent behavior and lack of empathy.

How Narcissists and Alcoholics Are Similar

A person fighting alcoholism sometimes struggles to see things from their loved ones’  perspectives, which is similar to narcissistic personality disorder.

While alcoholism is an addiction and narcissism is a personality disorder, the two share many characteristics that may cause trouble in their personal, social and work lives.

Similarities of narcissism and alcoholism include:

  • Denial
  • Lack of self-examination
  • Refusal to take responsibility
  • Entitlement
  • Self-destructiveness
  • Behavior is at others’ expense
  • Behavior can switch rapidly
  • Superficial relationships
  • Manipulation of others
  • Self-absorption
  • Shame

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcohol Abuse

People with an alcohol use disorder struggle to control their consumption of the substance. Alcohol causes impairment and consistent use of the substance can lead to withdrawal symptoms when not in a person’s system. Alcoholism can cause people to be impaired in social settings or use alcohol despite risks to their professional goals or personal relationships. However, the need for alcohol can become overwhelming and result in people becoming defensive about their substance abuse and how they act due to their addiction. These narcissistic tendencies can reveal the existence of narcissistic personality disorder. When narcissistic personality disorder and substance abuse are co-occurring, symptoms of both issues are worsened.

Diagnosing co-occurring disorders can be difficult because the two conditions often affect each other and have overlapping symptoms. When two disorders are occurring, it is always vital to obtain treatment for both disorders at the same time. Treating only the substance use disorder and not narcissistic personality disorder — or vice versa — will increase the chances of future substance abuse and the need for more professional treatment.

Key Points: Alcohol Abuse and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Alcohol abuse and narcissism have similar symptoms.
  • Narcissism may lead to alcoholism in some patients due to their grandiose view of themselves and denial of a negative outcome occurring.
  • Alcohol abuse can cause people to develop narcissistic personality disorder as they become defensive about their substance use and whether they have an addiction.

If you are or a loved one needs help or assistance in treatment, The Recovery Village can help. Facilities located throughout the United States have the staff and resources available to provide treatment for substance use disorders and a co-occurring mental health issue. For more information about co-occurring disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism, call to speak to one of the understanding staff members at The Recovery Village.

    

Neuharth, D. “Narcissism Decoded: 11 Ways Narcissists and Alcoholics Are Similar” PsychCentral. Accessed December 2018

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