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Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that around 7.9 million Americans had a mental disorder with an addiction present in 2014. The higher number of addicts that have a mental disorder such as bi-polar or narcissistic personality disorder speaks to the connection between addiction and mental health issues. The common occurrence of alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder is best treated through rehabs that are able to treat both conditions at their facilities. Through the study of alcoholism narcissism psychopathology, research-based treatment methods are employed to help a patient recover from both conditions and lead a happy life.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 14 2023 | Updated Mar 04 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Ash Bhatt
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dr. Ash Bhatt
Reviewed by

Understanding the Link between Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a condition where a person regards themselves above all others. The happiness of the individual is often at the expense of another. There is usually a lack of sympathy for the plight of others due to the overshadowing of their own self-importance. While it is a mental disorder that needs to be properly diagnoses by a professional, the following can be an indication that you might have NPD.

  • A person exhibits selfish pursuits of their goals and desires
  • An exaggerated opinion of themselves
  • The attention and admiration of others is very important
  • Decision making is based on self-interest
  • Criticism results in the person experiencing excessive shame or extreme anger

When alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder occur simultaneously, the effects on a person’s life can be devastating.

The Link between Narcissism and Addiction

The link between narcissism and addiction is two-fold. One the one hand, the problems created by narcissism can be difficult to deal with at times, causing people to turn to alcohol or others drugs in an effort to self-medicate.

On the other hand, a person with narcissism and an addiction to alcohol or another substance goes through a cycle. It usually begins with the person feeling threatened. This results in anger and them taking out their frustrations on the victim. When the victim resists, the narcissist turns to their addiction. The substance they abuse then reinforces their beliefs and behavior. This usually results in the victim retreating and the narcissist becoming confused and then threatened, and thus the cycle repeats.

Treatment for Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Various studies on alcoholism narcissism psychopathology and other co-occurring mental health disorders revealed that the best way to treat the condition is to do it simultaneously. At the rehab center, the alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder must be treated separately but congruently in order to avoid relapse situations.

To begin, a person will go through a professional assessment to determine if NPD is present and the extent of the addiction. A treatment plan is then made based on the findings. Initially, the patient will go through a supervised detoxification period. This is especially important for alcoholism as the withdrawals symptoms can be severe.

When the patient is through most of the serious symptoms, they can begin their behavioral therapy for addiction and their treatment for NPD. Many rehabs are able to treat both at one facility. The treatment plan is adjusted based on continuous assessments to ensure that the patient is receiving the best care for their current situation.

Once treatment at rehab is concluded, aftercare programs such as sober living houses and support groups are used to help the patient maintain their sobriety.

Admitting that you need help is a crucial first step in recovery. It can be difficult to see the full extent of the problem if you have NPD and an addiction but in order to get better, professional care is required. Call Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690 to find a rehab near you that specializes in co-occurring mental disorder treatment.


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bullet Durand, V. M., & Barlow, D. H. (2019).
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bullet Lishner, D. A., Bateman, J. R., & Rasmusson, A. M. (2009).
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