There are many different types of mental health disorders and traits that affect people with alcohol use disorder. Narcissism, which comes in many forms, is not a mental health disorder in and of itself. Being a narcissist is not the same thing as having a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but it can impact a person’s behavior and how they experience alcohol addiction.
The Link Between Addiction and Narcissism
This article focuses solely on people who classify as narcissists, and it does not cover people who have narcissistic personality disorder. However, it is possible your loved one may have this diagnosis. Through rehab and therapy, they will ultimately receive greater insight into their personality and discover how their actions impact their life and relationships. For context, it’s important to define a narcissist in this situation. A narcissist is someone who ultimately believes that they are “special” or entitled to a higher level of attention and treatment than other people.
They may be excessively arrogant and brag about their achievements and qualities, or they could be what is known as vulnerable narcissists. Vulnerable narcissists are the type of person who typically “play the victim.” They are prone to being extremely emotionally reactive, and they may use their addiction as a way to validate their emotions and reinforce their toxic beliefs. Many narcissists develop addictions because they have a deep-rooted, shame-fueled sense of insecurity. Underneath their arrogance or demands of special treatment is a person who relies on the outside world to validate their sense of self. Drugs and alcohol ultimately become coping mechanisms for their unhappy internal state.
Signs of Narcissism
There are millions of people who find themselves dating or married to a narcissist without any idea when it happened. Their partner was once their fantasy version of Mr. or Mrs. Right, but now, they’re caught in a cycle of narcissistic abuse and addiction that they cannot comprehend, let alone figure out how to leave. Some signs someone is a narcissist include:
- Frequently bragging about their greatness or achievements.
- Comparing themselves to others and always saying how much better they are.
- Demands special treatment and always has to be the center of attention.
- Becomes extremely angry when they perceive any type of criticism or feel ignored.
- Want to be around others who they consider to be just as good as they are.
- Frequently lie or manipulate to earn forgiveness, deny their actions or blame other people for their behavior.
Narcissists who are also alcohol addicts tend to be even more emotionally reactive. They will likely become extremely angry if you bring up their drinking. Helping a narcissist with an addiction is a greater challenge because of their unwillingness to admit any problems with themselves or their behavior.
Narcissists and Alcohol Addiction
The bottom line is that all alcoholics are not narcissists, but everyone with an addiction acts selfishly to some degree. Their selfishness, lying and disregard for the pain they cause their loved ones may come across as narcissistic. But a narcissist is someone who feels more important than others and demands to be seen as such, either verbally or through their actions. A narcissist may use their addiction as a way to justify their behavior. They might say all alcoholics lie, that their addiction causes them to emotionally shut-off and they can’t be blamed for their drinking because it is an addiction.
Someone who has an alcohol use disorder but is not a narcissist may lie or use addiction as an excuse, but they ultimately don’t feel like their addiction makes them any more special than anyone else. In fact, the majority of people with alcohol addiction suffer from some type of mental illness like anxiety or depression. They also suffer from guilt, shame and regret over their drinking and what it’s done to their life.
How to Get Help
While you can never make someone go to rehab, you can learn more about alcohol addiction and treatment options. Education is your first line of defense against a narcissist, and it can help you stop enabling addiction. No matter how long you or your loved one have been suffering, help is always available. Contact us anytime at 833-820-2922 to learn more about addiction and to find rehabs near you.