Behind the Mask: NPD and Substance Abuse Disorders

NPD and substance abuse disorders

As humans, we all have traces of narcissistic traits now and then such as being self-absorbed and selfish. We may balance this trait by self-awareness and try our best to practice humility and work on the negative character defects and improve our social skills. When an individual loves themselves more than others that would indicate Narcissistic personality disorder. most individuals who are narcissistic will abuse drugs and alcohol.

Why do Narcissists struggle with addiction?

Individuals with NPD believe that they are stronger and more superior than others. They believe that they are invincible and can handle any challenge that may come their way. These people may take copious amounts of substances and not believe that anything negative will happen. Individuals with NPD will never easily admit to having a problem and more than likely only seek help when they are in legal trouble or are given an ultimatum.

What are the signs of NPD?

  • Grandiosity – an unrealistic sense of superiority. They believe they are unique or better than others. They will usually only associate with successful and well-liked people. Narcissists are fueled by recognition and admiration by others and believe that they are the boss and everyone else is inferior to them.
  • Delusional – reality doesn’t exist with the narcissist. Narcissists live in a world of self-deception and fantastical ideas. Their main goal in life is to be successful, powerful, attractive, and mostly in control. When their bubble is burst they become volatile and isolate into their little world after pushing those close to them away.
  • Constant Attention Seekers – individuals with NPD need constant admiration and attention. When the narcissist is not getting the attention they feel they deserve, they will seek out others who will give them this. If the narcissist is involved with someone romantically and they are bored, they will cheat and keep many secrets from their unsuspecting spouse. Substance abuse is the driving force behind feeling confident enough to seek a fuel source and they are likely to hang around with others who use the same substances.
  • Sense of entitlement – as they consider themselves special, they expect favorable treatment. A pity party, abusive behavior, and silent treatment will occur if they do not get what they believe they deserve, even if their expectations are unrealistic.
  • Uses guilt or shame – a narcissist will never be able to put themselves in the shoes of others as they lack empathy.
  •  Exploits others without guilt and shame-Narcissists have an under-developed ability to identify with others emotions. They lack empathy and view others as objects to serve them. Individuals with NPD take advantage of others in the most diabolical and oppressive ways. A narcissist will financially, physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse those around them. Individuals with NPD will never take accountability for their abusive behavior and will blame others. All they care about is their own needs.
  • Bullies and puts others down-narcissists feel threatened when someone has something they lack. They do not like being challenged in any way or form. When they feel threatened their defense mechanism kicks in and they lash out with aggression. Individuals with a false sense of entitlement feel better about themselves when they put others down.

 Now add addiction to the mix and you are facing an intense storm of exhaustion and powerlessness when you are close to an individual with NPD. Both NPD and substance abuse disorder manifests similar behaviors. These behaviors are amplified when an individual with NPD is abusing substances:

  • Abusive behavior – common with individuals with a substance abuse disorder, but even more potent when an individual with NPD is involved.
  • Selfish – individuals with a substance abuse disorder are unaware of their selfish behavior whereas an individual with NPD is aware- they just do not care.
  • Arrogant – individuals with a substance abuse disorder are easily made aware of their self centered behavior whereas an individual with NPD will deny that they are arrogant.
  • Shame – this is a common and powerful trait with both NPD and substance abuse disorders. Even more so with an individual with NPD.

 What can I do if I’m a family member?  

Set boundaries for yourself! An individual with NPD will never submit to a loved one. The best thing you can do is protect yourself and reach out. If you would like to help the individual with NPD, you will need to get yourself to safety and use the services of addiction treatment professionals. An intervention is suggested by way of a third party who is not close to the individual with NPD. Please note that interventions should only be done through addiction specialists for the safety of yourself and the individual with NPD. If you or a loved one exhibits any symptoms of NPD and substance abuse disorders, get into contact with ARCA rehab today for a free assessment. ARCA addiction specialist are qualified to diagnose all underlying conditions that cause addictive behaviors and appropriate therapies for NPD and substance abuse disorders.

ARCA rehab treatment

Schizophrenia and Drug Addiction: What is the Link?