Disorders rarely stand alone. A 2018 study found that having a narcissistic personality disorder is a positive predictor for alcoholism.
This means that millions of people may have both conditions at once. Yet information about an alcoholic narcissist is not clear.
What is an alcohol use disorder, and what is narcissism? What is an alcoholic narcissist, and how do their two conditions overlap with each other? How can someone receive treatment for both conditions at once?
Answer these questions and you can be part of the solution for alcoholism and narcissism. Here is your quick guide.
What Is an Alcohol Use Disorder?
An alcohol use disorder occurs when a person becomes dependent on alcohol for a long period of time. Some people drink moderate amounts of alcohol and do not develop a disorder. Others exhibit binge drinking or similar behaviors.
A person’s use of alcohol turns into an alcohol use disorder when they exhibit several symptoms. They show a craving for alcohol. They have a strong need to drink, sometimes avoiding important responsibilities in order to do so.
The individual loses control over their drinking. Once they have one beer, they cannot stop themselves from having another. They may continue drinking until they pass out or have serious physical problems.
When the individual is not drinking, they have negative emotions. They may feel anxious or irritated until they can drink. If they are cut off from alcohol, they may become angry or violent.
What Is Narcissism?
A personality disorder is a mental disorder in which a person maintains an unhealthy way of thinking and behaving. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has an inflated ego.
They may regard themselves as more important than they actually are. This means that they may thrust themselves into situations that they are unprepared for.
A person may have a deep desire for attention and praise. They may fish for compliments, or they may search for publicity through impulsive acts.
Many people with NPD have troubled personal relationships. They may be able to win friends and romantic partners with charm and confidence. But they may show a lack of empathy that causes their relationships to deteriorate.
Other signs of NPD include excessive lying, extreme envy, and condescension. No two people with the disorder are exactly the same. This means that the signs of narcissism can vary, though many people show similar features.
Alcohol and Narcissism
Alcohol and narcissism can overlap with each other in several ways. Drinking alcohol can induce a sense of confidence and ease. This can fuel the feelings of self-importance in someone with narcissism.
Someone with narcissism may use alcohol to cope with their personal problems. They may drink alone to conceal their insecurity from the rest of the world.
Both conditions may cause someone to engage in similar behaviors. A person may view others as enablers who will help them get attention and alcohol. Everyone else may be threats that the person tries to put at bay.
Both conditions encourage opportunism. Alcohol use disorder can encourage someone to drink at every opportunity, like parties. Narcissism can prompt someone to seek fame, even through dangerous or unlawful acts.
Either condition can induce a sense of shame. Drinking or acting arrogant can mask deep insecurity.
At the same time, both conditions can create a feeling of self-absorption. The individual may prioritize their own welfare above others at all costs.
There are differences between an alcohol use disorder and NPD. Many people who drink to excess are kind to others when they are not sober. A person’s behavior may change over the course of an alcohol use disorder, but narcissism may be lifelong.
Treatment for an Alcoholic Narcissist
Anyone with either an alcohol use disorder or narcissistic personality disorder should receive help. They should get a formal diagnosis for their disorder from a medical professional.
Treatment for an alcohol use disorder can begin with an alcohol detox program. This is not the same as going cold turkey. It involves the use of medications like naltrexone that decreases the impacts of withdrawal on the brain.
The treatment paths for both disorders are similar to each other. Individuals can go through talk therapy, developing social skills and targeting emotional triggers.
During cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a person identifies thought patterns that lead them toward abusive behaviors. With the help of a therapist, they work to overcome those patterns.
They then figure out coping strategies like breathing exercises that help them make better decisions. CBT has worked for people with alcohol problems and personality disorders.
Someone who has both disorders can receive help for both at once. Many drug treatment centers have dual diagnosis departments. An individual can receive diagnoses of both conditions and begin treatments for both right away.
The family members of alcoholic narcissists should receive support as well. They can talk to a therapist individually, or they can attend group sessions with people who have similar experiences.
Help Your Loved One Get Clean
An alcoholic narcissist is struggling with two conditions at once. Their alcohol use disorder renders them dependent upon drinking. Their narcissistic personality disorder causes them to act egotistically and perform risky behaviors.
The two conditions can reinforce each other. Someone with NPD may turn to alcohol when they do not get the praise they want.
But that also means that both conditions can be treated through similar approaches. After going through a detox program, an alcoholic narcissist can receive talk therapy. Even people with two serious conditions can get help. Inland Detox serves the Temecula area. Contact us today.