Author: James Anderson

6 Traits of Covert Narcissism

covert narcissism and alcoholism

Covert narcissists may also be more prone to social anxiety, passive-aggressive behavior and exacting revenge on others when they’re backed into a corner. In contrast, vulnerable narcissism, or covert narcissism, was a risk factor for future alcohol-related problems. Compared to grandiose narcissists, people in this group were more likely to acknowledge that they had a problem. A trained mental health professional is usually able to diagnose personality disorders using standardized psychiatric interview methods.

  1. Remember that a person with both alcoholic and narcissistic traits may need to get professional help before they can have a healthy relationship with you again.
  2. People with covert narcissism share many of these traits and, as a result, may have difficulty developing and maintaining relationships.
  3. To get started, contact a doctor or other healthcare professional, or reach out to a therapist.
  4. “If you are concerned that you may be causing a problem in these scenarios, a therapist can help you feel more at home with yourself and figure out why you rely on certain negative behaviors,” says Dr. Albers.

Further research into the causes of AUD might help experts develop more treatment options. However, research from 2014 tells us that genetics might play a part in whether some people develop NPD. It’s worth noting that the DSM-5-TR doesn’t use the term “alcoholism,” but the term is still used colloquially to refer to AUD. In order to get a diagnosis of AUD, you have to fit certain diagnostic criteria as set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR). Someone who’s narcissistic might be self-absorbed and have an inflated sense of self-importance.

And while there are some links between alcoholism and narcissism overall, the connection isn’t as straightforward as some might think. Another study from 2019 found a link between drinking and the narcissistic traits of devaluing and entitlement-rage. Threatened egotism was listed as a factor that motivated increased alcohol use. Risk factors for NPD include having difficult relationships with parents or caregivers during a person’s developmental years that may include excessive praise or criticism.

In both NPD and AUD, childhood trauma — including abuse and neglect — may be a risk factor. In other words, those who had narcissistic tendencies were more likely to use alcohol and experience problems because of alcohol use. In truth, we all have various kinds of insecurities, but we don’t have to let those insecurities control the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you feel lost about who you are as a person and where you are in life right now, there’s a way to get back on the path toward feeling more like your true self.

AUD Prognosis

In some cases, a covert narcissist may even be better at revenge because they keep their true feelings hidden by suppressing them. Covert narcissism is a lesser-known form of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It is sometimes referred to as quiet narcissism or vulnerable narcissism.

Although people with AUD may relapse or have treatment setbacks, they can recover from the disorder. Learning healthy coping strategies can help them remain sober when they face triggers. Healthcare professionals and psychologists may use a set of criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose narcissism or AUD.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

However, it’s recommended that both conditions are treated at the same time to improve your likelihood of recovery. However, treatments like psychotherapy, group support, and self-care strategies can help people with either condition feel much better. If you answered “yes” to most of the questions above, speaking with a therapist might be a good idea.

If someone you love needs treatment for alcohol use disorder, there are also new, online options that can make the process easier. In addition to expert medical support, Ria Health’s program includes virtual coaching sessions to help people unlearn self-destructive patterns connected to alcohol. If someone you know has alcoholic narcissist symptoms, don’t neglect your own needs. Being close with an alcoholic narcissist can be emotionally draining, and it’s crucial to take care of yourself. The narcissist-like behavior of some alcoholics may only be a result of their addiction—it may not be how they really are when sober.

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. People with AUD, also known as alcoholism, can display patterns of narcissism, including self-absorption and an underlying craving for admiration. Their vulnerability as narcissists is reflected in anger and aggression, envy, helplessness, feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, and shame. The number of criteria a person meets determines whether they have AUD, and if so, the severity of the condition.

Narcissists May Be More Likely to Struggle with Alcohol Use Problems

You could start by engaging with a mental healthcare provider or treatment center that specializes in dual diagnoses. Treatment centers can also ensure that you can access the right support systems at the right time in your treatment. Moreover, each mental health condition must be independently diagnosed.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

Traits like narcissism and personality disorders like NPD are long-standing. In order to have a diagnosis of NPD, they’ll have to consistently show the relevant symptoms over a period of many years. Similarly, many people who misuse alcohol might display very few signs of narcissism. Some individuals have both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and an active addiction.

Like overt narcissism, covert narcissism may have roots in genetics, childhood trauma and learned behavior picked up from parents or other caregivers. You should start by exploring peer support groups like Al-Anon that help families and loved ones living with people with AUD. You can also find narcissist abuse support groups, both online or in-person, through organizations like Help Within Reach. There are numerous other online support groups and chat rooms dedicated to loved ones living with alcoholism and NPD.

What are the symptoms of each condition?

You can also join a local support group offered by the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), which addresses substance abuse when NPD and other mental health disorders. All personality and substance abuse disorders are diagnosed based on a strict set of criteria described in the DSM-5. While there is room for interpretation, a person with NPD and/or AUD must meet a minimum standard before a diagnosis can be delivered with confidence. It is not uncommon for two mental health conditions to co-exist (referred to as a comorbidity). Covert narcissist traits may reflect a different subtype or more subtle presentation of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic personality disorder is just one of several personality disorders that can be dually diagnosed with alcoholism. However, there is some evidence that having narcissistic personality disorder can make you more vulnerable to alcohol abuse. While narcissism is a personality disorder and alcoholism is an addiction, narcissists and alcoholics share several characteristics. Recognizing these commonalities can help you understand and cope with people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, untreated alcoholism, or both.

Coping with someone with a dual diagnosis can be more difficult than if that person suffered from only narcissism or untreated alcoholism. Covert narcissism (also known as vulnerable narcissism) is the more introverted side of NPD. A covert narcissist experiences the same insecurities as an overt narcissist, but internalizes their self-importance, often while hyper-focusing on their need for attention. While this may be true for a lot of people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), there are others who fly a bit under the radar when it comes to their self-importance. Covert narcissists may not be aware of their toxic behaviors or they may not know their behavior is stemming from a personality disorder. This isn’t an excuse for acting in hurtful ways, but it is something to keep in mind when dealing with a narcissist.