How Does Narcissism Relate to Alcohol Addiction?

How Does Narcissism Relate to Alcohol Addiction?Alcoholics may exhibit self-centered behavior without being a narcissist. However, some addicts indeed develop a narcissistic disorder, which requires that treatment recognizes how each problem affects the other. You can get help for your particular problem if you seek professional treatment.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcoholism

Many traits associated with narcissism also affect people with alcoholism, including selfish and manipulative behavior. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) commonly co-occurs with alcoholism, but a qualified mental health professional will strive for an accurate diagnosis, so she will evaluate patients after they get sober. The reason for this is that, according to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol addiction may mimic several qualities of NPD.

The American Psychiatric Association defines NPD in the fourth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4). Many mental health professionals rely on their experience as they treat alcoholics, but this manual reveals that this is a serious problem that requires professional care.

Traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Most narcissistic traits surface in late adolescence or early adulthood. People with this disorder believe themselves to be superior to others and fantasize of being admired. According to the DSM-4, someone with at least five of the following nine qualities may have NPD:

  • Embellishing actions to increase own importance
  • Fantasizing about success, power, intelligence, physical appearance or perfect love
  • Believing he is unique and should only consort with successful, influential people
  • Expects ongoing admiration
  • Believes all demands and wishes should be granted
  • Manipulates others to get what she wants
  • Lacks empathy
  • Is jealous of others; believes others are jealous of him
  • Exhibits arrogant behaviors

If someone does exhibit many of these qualities, then she may have narcissism.

Alcoholism and Narcissism

People suffering from NPD and alcoholism may believe they can control their drinking habits. Because narcissists believe they are more talented and capable than others, they may also believe they can handle alcohol better than others. The problem is that alcoholics continue drinking even when they become impaired, which endangers both themselves and others. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, signs of alcohol addiction include the following behaviors:

  • Failing to be responsible at home, work or school (such as neglecting children) due to drinking alcohol
  • Using alcohol in dangerous situations (driving while impaired)
  • Experiencing legal problems due to drinking
  • Having relationship problems due to drinking
  • Drinking to avoid stress

Narcissism and alcoholism can drive each other, so get help today to overcome this dangerous combination.

Help Finding Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcoholism is treatable, but people usually need help to achieve recovery. Our counselors are trained to give advice about effective treatment options. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to get started on a healthy and fulfilling life.

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