Narcissism and Drug Addiction What Happens When Two Disorders Meet

Those that only address one disorder at a time are more likely to relapse after recovery due to unaddressed underlying causes. Although experts believe that genetic factors can make people up to 50% more inclined toward alcohol use disorder, addiction has many possible causes. These include environmental factors, social factors, and emotional factors. There is much research to suggest a strong link between narcissism and problematic sexual behavior, notably infidelity and sexual assault. The same factors that drive the problematic use of alcohol and drugs can also drive sex addiction.

Do narcissists drink a lot?

It found that narcissism was a predictor of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. In other words, those who had narcissistic tendencies were more likely to use alcohol and experience problems because of alcohol use.

By building support from family and friends, you are more likely to stay on course with your dual treatment plan and avoid the stress that can make AUD and NPD worse. By educating yourself, you can also educate them about what AUD and NPD are about. You can take them with you to your next appointment to talk with your healthcare provider. Alternatively, you can access support symptoms for each condition separately. Similarly, using alcohol doesn’t mean a person with NPD has AUD, even if there have been incidents of extreme intoxication. If you have a narcissist in your life, your encounters with them may leave you feeling anxious, judged or exhausted from trying to keep up with their demands.

A Hunger for Attention and Admiration

People with narcissism may also use drugs to further boost their inflated sense of superiority. Both positive and negative personality traits are a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Underneath their bombastic exterior and projected self-esteem lies a fragile ego. Drug and alcohol abuse complicates narcissistic personality disorder and worsens side effects such as depression and anxiety.

Since narcissists cannot see their behavior as a problem and never admit when they’re wrong, trying to maintain a relationship will only lead to more frustration. Some people living with an SUD begin using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with negative feelings. For example, people who use alcohol or cocaine are more likely to display narcissistic traits than people who use other substances. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is perhaps the least understood of the 10 personality disorders, due to limited research. When the person begins the therapy process they will address the NPD head-on. Because narcissists and addiction are often interlinked, it is crucial to offer treatment for both of these complex disorders.

Where to Find a Support System

NPD increases the risk of alcohol abuse as a means to escape difficult emotions. While diagnosis and treatment can be challenging, studies have shown that the successful treatment of a mental illness can lead to alcohol recovery in two out of every three cases. Narcissistic personality disorder can be one of the more challenging mental health conditions to treat. A dual diagnosis is a state in which a person has a mental health disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder.

They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist – the adrenaline junkie – feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice. One of the hallmarks of NPD is that the person is in denial that they have a problem. The typical treatment approaches for drug and alcohol addiction may not be as effective because it requires a person first to admit that they’re addicted and need to change.

Similarities and Differences: Narcissism and Alcoholism

This finding was echoed in a 2021 Rutgers study that identified an interaction between genes and environmental factors. In 2016, a survey revealed that 21 million Americans, or one in seven, suffer from a substance abuse disorder, and only 10% seek treatment (Hafner). Stimulants are another people with narcissistic personality disorder commonly use. A possible reason includes the potential of increased energy and confidence while initially using stimulants.

narcissists and substance abuse

Clinical psychologist Dr. Craig Malkin says “There’s plenty of research that shows that people who have, say, narcissistic personality disorder…that they are more likely to turn to substances. If you do not trust that you can depend on people for love…you’re going to have to soothe yourself some other way. You can soothe yourself with narcissism, you can soothe yourself with a drug addiction”. A narcissist may or may not have a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The distinction is made by a mental health professional based on how many traits or symptoms the patient displays. Additional risk factors for developing this type of personality disorder include gender, with males more likely to develop the disorder.

If so, then you already know the awful impact of this mental health disorder on its victims. What you may not know is that narcissists and addiction are often co-occurring disorders. Partners or family members may also suffer from addictions due to the mental abuse suffered at the narcissist’s hands. Trauma feeds addiction and makes people susceptible to destructive behaviors. People tend to repeat behaviors and cycles, enabling the trauma to continue in new relationships and generations.

Someone who is considered to have narcissistic tendencies will often possess an exaggerated or unrealistic self-image that fuels feelings of superiority over others. In Greek mythology, the idea of narcissism is represented by the character Narcissus, who becomes obsessed with and falls in love with his own reflection. As the story goes, Narcissus’ complete self-absorption results in the neglect of those around him, as well as his own tragic downfall.

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder feel superior and seek new ways to feel better than others, leading to cravings for drugs or alcohol. If they receive criticism, narcissists may become distressed, which can seem similar to withdrawal symptoms. The large percentage of people with narcissistic personality disorder that also meet the criteria for a substance use disorder may lead many to question if drug addiction can cause narcissism. Substance use disorders may mimic the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder during active addiction.

  • However, without affirmation, the same individual may feel depressed and ashamed.
  • Alternative models propose two or three factors named fearless dominance/boldness, self-centered impulsivity/disinhibition, and coldheartedness/meanness (63, 68).
  • One of the hardest types of people to deal with is a narcissist in the middle of their addiction.
  • We aren’t aware of our lives and personalities until the side effects escalate.

Despite their denial, individuals having narcissism are just as unwitting to addiction signs. When they realize they are addicted, they have to admit that something has changed. Instead, narcissistic individuals think everything is already figured out. Personalities characterized by narcissism tend to gain admiration from others while still keeping a strong emotional distance from them. When someone is getting too close to them, they are more likely to exhibit narcissistic behavior that offends them. The narcissist will disregard reality and maintain their elevated self-identity by blaming other people for their anger.

Sorry, But Your Ex Is Probably Not a Narcissist

Having a narcissistic personality disorder can be exceedingly harmful to drug addiction. Knowing the role of narcissism in addiction can assist you or a loved one in receiving the narcissism and alcoholism necessary medical care before it is too late. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are closely linked and can occur together as a dual diagnosis.

  • Because of their narcissistic traits, they might feel embarrassed to talk about their problem because they see it as a flaw or failure in themselves.
  • It can be argued that those with NPD and those that struggle with addiction are both seeking something external to fill an internal void.
  • A dual diagnosis is the presence of a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder simultaneously.

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