Narcissism and Alcoholism: Similarities, Differences, Diagnosis

Treating only one (alcoholism or narcissistic personality disorder) increases the chances of relapse. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition defined as persistent symptoms of narcissism that significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Understanding Functional AlcoholismFunctional alcoholism is a type of alcoholism in which an individual is able to maintain a high level of functioning despite their alcohol consumption. Individuals with functional alcoholism may appear to be successful in their careers, have stable relationships, and lead a relatively normal life. However, this does not mean that their alcohol consumption is not causing problems.Functional alcoholism can lead to a range of negative consequences, such as impaired judgment, health problems, relationship issues, and legal troubles. It can also mask underlying emotional or psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety.

  • Similarly, people with dual diagnosis can manage their symptoms with appropriate treatment.
  • If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted health care provider or mental health provider.

Although alcohol misuse and AUD can cause someone to display narcissist-like behavior, this behavior might change when they’re sober or in recovery. 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. When you call our helpline, you’ll be connected with a representative who can assist you in finding mental health and addiction treatment resources at any of the Ark Behavioral Health addiction treatment facilities. When seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, it is important to locate a treatment program that offers a medically supervised detox program to help manage the dangerous withdrawal symptoms of alcohol.

Additional Facts About Alcoholism

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. Alcoholics and narcissists can also rapidly change moods and behavior. If you’ve dealt with a narcissist you know that one minute they can be charming and pleasant but then turn around and become threatening and attacking.

  • Initially, the patient will go through a supervised detoxification period.
  • 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.
  • Medications like Campral, Topamax, and Revia have greatly improved AUD recovery rates.
  • By doing so, a person is less likely to be “over-treated” for a condition they may not actually have.
  • To support those living with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and alcohol use disorder, both conditions must be treated simultaneously.

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. It was estimated as recently as 2017, that approximately one in every eight adults in the United States meets the criteria for an alcohol use disorder. Individuals with a NPD feel they can only be understood by special people. They take advantage of others, especially to accomplish their own goals.

Narcissism and alcohol use disorder

For NPD, it may involve individual or group counseling using cognitive behavioral therapy, schema-focused therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. For AUD, group approaches such as AA and other twelve-step addiction programs are common. All personality and substance abuse disorders are diagnosed based on a strict set of criteria described in the DSM-5. While there is room for interpretation, a person with NPD and/or AUD must meet a minimum standard before a diagnosis can be delivered with confidence.

alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder

If you have a loved one or are personally struggling with Narcissism and alcoholism, contact our team today to speak with one of our kind and experienced intake specialists. American Addiction Institute of Mind and Medicine is located in Orange County, CA. Our highly experienced staff of mental health and addiction experts has experience with all personality disorders and different types of substance use disorders. A co-occurring disorder is diagnosed when a person has a substance use disorder along with a mental health disorder.


Without treatment, people with NPD have trouble maintaining positive relationships and are vulnerable to abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with difficult emotions. Again, if care is not coordinated by a qualified mental health professional, the overlapping treatments can lead to drug interactions, unintended side effects, and the possible abandonment of treatment. Alcohol addiction affects an alcoholic’s behavior and the way they treat people, as well.

  • People with vulnerable narcissism tend to show avoidant, defensive, or hypersensitive behaviors, and they often experience feelings of rage at a perceived lack of esteem or respect.
  • The Dark Triad of personality—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy (1)—attracted enormous research interest in the past decades.
  • For AUD, group approaches such as AA and other twelve-step addiction programs are common.
  • To find a treatment program, browse the top-rated addiction treatment facilities in each state by visiting our homepage, or by viewing the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator.
  • The findings of this study have potential implications for future treatment and research.
  • Let Little Creek Recovery Center guide you down the right path to recovery, personal growth, and long-term sobriety.

These individuals have a lack of concern for the well-being of others or how others may be affected by their actions. These individuals will debate, argue, distract, or back you into a corner, due to the way alcohol affects them. An alcoholic can exhibit symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), but usually not enough to be diagnosed. Reach out to loved ones you trust who can walk with you through the recovery journal. If you have NPD and AUD, finding support can be challenging because they are two separate disorders with two separate treatment approaches.

Moreover, each mental health condition must be independently diagnosed. By doing so, a person is less likely to be “over-treated” for a condition they may not actually have. Exhibiting narcissistic behaviors when drunk, covert narcissism and alcoholism for example, doesn’t inherently mean that a person has NPD. Alcohol can influence narcissistic behaviors, such as arrogance, self-importance, and feelings of superiority that aren’t otherwise present when sober.

alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder