Is It Narcissism or Alcoholism?

The narcissistic enabler minimizes all signs of addiction and fosters feelings of superiority over others. The addiction enabler is likewise blind to symptoms of addiction, therefore, justifying financially supporting it. One of the hardest types of people to deal with is a narcissist in the middle of their addiction.

They made you feel special and adored with gushy compliments, affectionate displays, and expensive gifts. Research from 2019 suggests that in a romantic relationship, this abuse typically begins slowly after you’ve fallen hard and fast. Narcissistic abuse tends to follow a clear pattern, though this pattern might look different depending on the type of relationship. John A. Smith is a Senior Psychotherapist at The Dawn and an internationally accredited Addiction Treatment Professional (ISSUP), Certified Life and NLP Coach. He is highly experienced in working with young adults and utilises a range of evidence-based therapies, including SMART Recovery, to help his clients achieve their goals.

Gain Control and Dominance

One of the key symptoms of an alcohol use disorder is an inability to cut back on drinking. People with alcohol addictions also tend to drink more than intended. While you may be able to limit yourself to one drink during a social outing, your partner who lives with alcoholism will struggle to limit their drinking. Witnessing you drinking can trigger their own alcohol abuse and lead to a relapse. It can be very challenging to get a person with narcissistic personality disorder into treatment, especially because it is highly unlikely that they will admit they have a problem with addiction.

how to deal with an alcoholic narcissist

You must tell them how their words and conduct impact your life. When dealing with a narcissistic alcoholic, this sense of right can be elevated and can cause anger and even violence. If you have NPD and AUD, finding support can be challenging because they are two separate disorders with two separate treatment approaches. NPD and AUD frequently co-exist and can increase the effects of each other. People with a pattern of narcissism often turn to alcohol to reinforce a false sense of grandiosity.

What’s the outlook for people with NPD or AUD?

For AUD, group approaches such as AA and other twelve-step addiction programs are common. The treatment of NPD and AUD should ideally be delivered simultaneously, especially if there is severe addiction or depression. With that said, there are challenges narcissism and alcoholism to delivering appropriate care for the dual diagnosis. For AUD to be diagnosed, a person must meet one of four possible criteria for alcohol abuse, three of seven possible criteria for alcohol dependence, and two of 12 possible criteria for AUD symptoms.

how to deal with an alcoholic narcissist

Both NPD and AUD are mental health conditions classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). According to a 2019 study in Behavioral Medicine, 40.6% of NPD have substance abuse problems. On the flip side, grandiose and vulnerable NPD were both independent factors for alcohol abuse, concluded a 2019 study in the Journal of American College Health. Leaving an alcoholic narcissist can be a challenging and delicate process.

Health Essentials

Why is it that narcissists can be managed but they can’t be fixed? What narcissists want more than anything in the world is to be superior to you. They might give lip service to wanting to be in an egalitarian marriage, but deep down, they want a servant, and that basic predisposition isn’t going to be fixed.

Everybody can benefit from speaking with a therapist, regardless of whether they fit the criteria for a mental health condition. These behaviors are also seen in people with alcoholism (also known as a severe alcohol use disorder) and drug use or substance use disorders. Spending a lot of time with someone who has a narcissistic personality can make it hard to remember what a healthy relationship even feels like. People without NPD or other similar mental health conditions usually think of a relationship as a selfless equation. It’s about offering something to another person without the expectation of immediate or equal reimbursement.