How Does Narcissism Relate to Alcohol Addiction?

How Does Narcissism Relate to Alcohol Addiction?Many factors play into alcohol addiction, and each addict’s case is different. Certain genetic traits make people more likely to become alcoholics, and a handful of underlying psychological issues usually contribute as well. In some cases, narcissism may be to blame. In addition, alcoholism and its psychological impact often cause narcissistic traits.

What Is Narcissism?

Narcissism is extreme self-interest and self-promotion. It often results from being neglected, receiving excessive praise or experiencing trauma during childhood. Anyone may develop narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as a means of self-protection. Someone may build a false persona to shirk his insecurities or fears. Additionally someone with this disorder may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Inability to handle criticism
  • Exploiting others to achieve goals
  • Self-importance
  • Exaggerating her achievements or talents
  • Obsession with success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal love
  • Expecting favoritism
  • Requiring constant attention and admiration
  • Disregarding the feelings of others and an inability to feel empathy
  • Self-interest

While you may think these characteristics simply describe someone who is selfish, he may struggle with NPD.

How NPD Leads to Alcoholism

A narcissist’s disregard for others can devastate her relationships and cause her to isolate herself from others. She may turn to alcohol to escape her fear of inferiority, which she medicates with excessive praise. NPD and alcoholism often co-occur. Alcoholism can quickly make people self-centered, i.e. no longer concerned with the needs of others and satisfying their own needs even if it burdens others. When self-interest combines with the self-loathing, it makes a patient’s behaviors resemble someone with NPD.

How Narcissism Complicates Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Treatment for NPD involves psychological counseling as well as various types of therapy. When combined, these methods address the issues underlying narcissism while building more positive relationships with others. Treatment for NPD and alcoholism can easily be complicated by egotistic traits. A patient may be convinced that she is above treatment, or that she has achieved full recovery even though she still needs help. When patients relapse into old behaviors, they may jeopardize their recoveries by ignoring that they have failed. This can keep patients from facing their issues and achieving full recovery.

Treatment for Co-Occurring NPD and Alcoholism

If people have both NPD and a substance abuse disorder, this is called a co-occurring disorder. Both disorders require treatment if patients are to achieve full recovery, because these problems feed one another and have many layers. If you or a loved one suffers from these co-occurring disorders, call our toll-free helpline right now to speak with an addiction counselor. They can connect you with comprehensive treatment and check your insurance policy for coverage. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, so there is no need to wait.