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The Classic Narcissist

The classic narcissist is someone that needs validation. And lots of it … frequently. But not just appropriate validation. There is a deep need for constant compliments and affirmation. Then there is the lack of empathy. When a person is so “self” focused, it is often difficult to have the ability to have space for others. Interestingly, these traits often complement substance use disorders. Narcissism and addiction are common companions.

Narcissism and Addiction Connection

Covering Narcissism

Clinically, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)is a cluster B personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, excessive need for special treatment and admiration, sensitivity to criticism, arrogance, and inability to empathize with others. Narcissistic people struggle with forming and maintaining interpersonal relationships.

A narcissistic personality can take one of the following three forms.

  • Overt – Characterized by grandiosity, the individual perceives themselves as superior to others. They’re also prone to aggression, attention seeking, entitlement, and exaggeration.
  • Covert – They tend to be self-absorbed, lack empathy, are quick to judge, and are quiet. They have a superiority complex where they think others are boring or stupid.
  • Malignant – This variant is a combination of narcissistic traits and antisocial personality traits. They tend to lie a lot, are hostile towards others, have impulsive and reckless behaviors, and lack empathy.

Up to 75% of the diagnoses made of NPD are male. Narcissism is often comorbid with other personality disorders such as antisocial, histrionic, borderline, and paranoid personality disorders, anorexia nervosa, and substance use disorders.

Where Narcissism and Addiction Meet

As mentioned before, narcissists tend to crave constant approval and admiration. They often have vulnerable self-esteem, which is boosted by external validation. They may go out of their way to use other people to get what they want, without regard for anyone’s feelings.

The secret to the narcissistic mind is that the self-importance comes as a result of low self-esteem. And low self-esteem has been tied to substance use and long-term abuse.

Drugs and alcohol provide a temporary relief form not feeling appreciated enough. It’s a simple solution to the narcissists problem.

With constant use, they eventually develop high tolerance and dependence. Addiction, however, is not limited to substances. It could be an addiction to other “substances.”

  • Social media and phones
  • Gambling
  • Overworking
  • Eating
  • Sex

Similarities between addiction and NPD

Addicts and narcissists have one thing in common: they need external factors to satisfy an internal void. Other similarities they share include:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Defensive behavior on scrutiny
  • They see no consequences in their actions
  • Anxiety and depression

Treating Addiction and Narcissism

When addiction and NPD co-occur, it is essential to tackle both conditions simultaneously. Seeking help from a qualified addiction treatment center is the first step. EagleCrest rehab in Arkansas has a team that offers help or co-occurring disorders. Our individual addiction therapy and our 30-day inpatient program are essential tools for finding a recovery that treats the entire person.

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction and may have narcissistic inclinations, please call us today. Our team is ready to answer any questions and offer guidance for your next step.