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What’s The Relationship Between Alcoholism And Narcissism?

 In alcoholism

Heavy alcohol use often goes hand-in-hand with a range of psychological issues. Among them is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Narcissistic attitudes and patterns of behavior are deeply damaging and, in many cases, abusive. The following are some abusive personality disorder signs:

  • Low empathy
  • Exaggerated self-importance
  • A strong sense of entitlement
  • Resistance to apologizing or taking responsibility for harmful actions
  • Manipulative, exploitative, and controlling behaviors
  • Fits of rage
  • The devaluation of people through insults, sabotage, and other hurtful acts

What’s the relationship between alcoholism and NPD? The two conditions show overlapping behaviors. They can also feed into each other in different ways.

Do Narcissists Tend To Become Alcoholics?

Someone can be narcissistic or have a formal diagnosis of NPD without ever becoming alcoholic. However, research and clinical observations show that narcissists are susceptible to developing a drinking problem.

An alcoholic narcissist may drink heavily for multiple reasons. In some cases, they want to show off by drinking as much as possible. Alcohol can also help fuel their grandiose ideas. When drunk, they have an easier time seeing themselves as smarter and more powerful than everyone else.

To an alcoholic narcissist, drinking becomes one of their layers of defense. Alcohol serves as a buffer against criticism. It blocks awareness of deficiencies and failure.

Furthermore, an alcoholic narcissist has an exceptionally difficult time admitting that they have a problem. In general, narcissists don’t like to accept responsibility for what they say and do. When they abuse alcohol and develop a dependence on drinking, they may not accept or admit that there’s anything wrong with their life.

Can Alcohol Make Someone Narcissistic?

Based on existing research, we can’t say that alcoholism causes a personality disorder like narcissism. Personality disorders usually start when someone is a teenager or young adult. However, alcoholism does increase narcissistic behaviors and tendencies. Even when an alcoholic doesn’t have a full diagnosis of NPD, they act in ways that are similar to a narcissist.

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.

Entitlement

Regardless of what’s going on in their lives, alcoholics feel entitled to a drink. They justify their drinking through a variety of excuses. Their workday was stressful. They had an unpleasant conversation with a friend. They thought of something terrible from their past. Nothing, not even their family’s pain, can stand in the way of the drink they feel they deserve.

Self-Centeredness And Hurting Others

People with an alcoholic personality show a disregard for others. They hurt their loved ones and let down people who trust them. 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.

Their lack of care takes many forms. They miss birthday parties and work meetings. They don’t show up to appointments. During conversations, they don’t seem to process what other people tell them. In some cases, they take money set aside for household expenses or their children’s education. Along with emotionally or physically neglecting their loved ones, they sometimes commit physical abuse.

Failure To Take Responsibility

A hallmark of an alcoholic personality is denial. Along with denying the existence of their drinking problem, alcoholics refuse to take responsibility for their harmful behaviors.

When other people point out their drinking problem, alcoholics react defensively. They may become angry, sullen, and withdrawn. If they acknowledge their problem, it means they’ll have to take the difficult steps of addressing it. Denial seems like an easier path. It also seems easier to assign blame to others.

Manipulation

As a result of self-centeredness and denial, alcoholics can behave in manipulative ways. Like narcissists, they may threaten harm to themselves or others if they don’t get what they want. They may pretend to be nice for a short while to get other people to leave them alone. Other times, they try to inspire pity. Even if their behaviors hurt others, alcoholics do what they feel they need to continue drinking.

Getting Effective Treatment

An individual may be an alcoholic narcissist, someone who has NPD and then develops alcohol addiction and dependence. In many other cases, an alcoholic doesn’t start with NPD. But their alcoholic personality leads them to act in ways that are similar to a narcissist.

Whatever the case may be, people need effective alcoholism treatment A strong treatment program will address both the problematic drinking and any other psychological issues, including narcissistic tendencies.

When working with highly trained and compassionate professionals, alcoholics receive holistic treatment. A program that’s partially inpatient can give them the environment they need to work on themselves and improve their lives. To find out more about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us.

References

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder.htm

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00662/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6310677/

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder

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