Narcissism and Alcoholism: Similarities, Differences, Diagnosis

Very little research has been conducted specifically on narcissism’s effect on problem recognition or a person’s readiness to change. 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. A person’s use of alcohol turns into an alcohol use disorder when they exhibit several symptoms.

  • Through setting these boundaries, along with those specific to alcoholism, you will begin to regain control over your life and improve your relationship.
  • Learning healthy coping strategies can help them remain sober when they face triggers.
  • Almost everyone who develops a problem with alcohol will be in denial about that problem with alcohol until they are ready to admit the truth.
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  • Let Little Creek Recovery Center guide you down the right path to recovery, personal growth, and long-term sobriety.

This video offers insight into the psychology of narcissism and addiction. This is even true when the addiction has completely taken over their lives – and their hostile attitude toward treatment may also become strangely competitive and aggressive. And as chronic drug use has been proven to make the symptoms of NPD and BPD more prominent and severe, the narcissist finds himself or herself looking for more drugs to self medicate. From what I’ve learned, often, one condition feeds the other – so you’re left with a “chicken or egg” kind of situation. Plus, the addicted narcissist will almost always be in some kind of codependent relationship that is abusive or manipulative. Often, they think they have the right to bully people, humiliate them and force them into taking responsibility for or covering for the narcissist’s bad behavior or choices.

Doctor explains the relationship between narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism

Living with or loving someone who exhibits traits of a narcissistic alcoholic can be taxing. It’s important to take care of yourself to be able to help or take care of other people. Evans E, Grella C, Washington D, Upchurch D. Gender and race/ethnic differences in the persistence of alcohol, drug, and poly-substance use disorders. Hingson R, Zha W. Age of drinking onset, alcohol use disorders, frequent heavy drinking, and unintentionally injuring oneself and others after drinking.

People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style may appear aloof, resist commitment, and not be attuned to their deeper feelings. Following alcohol guidelines can help people stay within moderate levels of alcohol consumption. For females, it is not advisable to consume more than one unit of alcohol per day.


Frequently lie or manipulate to earn forgiveness, deny their actions or blame other people for their behavior. Demands special treatment and always has to be the center of attention. Deep-rooted insecurity or lack of self-esteem may cause some people to feel undeserving of happiness. Sandbagging is manipulative behavior that dupes a person into lowering resistance or expectations, which then sets them up to be exploited.

Narcissism involves difficulty accepting fault for one’s mistakes. People with narcissism usually have incorrect perceptions about their life and what people think of them. They may believe that only their version of reality is accurate and are often unconcerned with the damage that their arrogant and manipulative behavior does to other people. When narcissism is combined with the cravings and impulses of alcoholism, this behavior only worsens.

Learn more about Alcohol Addiction with OurUltimate Resource Guide

If you feel like you or someone you care about might be showing signs of being an alcoholic narcissist, there is hope, and there is no reason to be ashamed. Alcoholism is a very serious condition, and without narcissism and alcoholism treatment, it can lead to homelessness, failed relationships, and even early death. Those close to both narcissists and alcoholics experience deprivation, abandonment, shame, rejection and feeling used.