Narcissism is a personality disorder defined in the DSM-5 as an impaired sense of self and ability to relate to others. A narcissistic personality disorder comes with several toxic traits that can damage your relationships with others, driving them away and leaving you feeling lonely and depressed. You might also be more vulnerable to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to cope with complex emotions. What are some signs of a narcissist?
While mental health professionals have not identified one specific cause of narcissism, it often traces back to childhood trauma and family dysfunction. Since other mental health disorders have a genetic component, it’s likely narcissism does, too.
Warning signs of narcissistic personality disorder include:
- A sense of entitlement and privilege, as if the world owes you something
- An ongoing need for compliments, admiration and praise
- A belief that you are inherently smarter or more talented than everyone else
- A lack of empathy or consideration for other people’s needs
- A willingness to manipulate others if it helps you get ahead or advances your goals
- An excessive desire to be the center of attention or have people see you as powerful
- An arrogance that leads you to believe others should be jealous of you
The Relationship Between Narcissism and Substance Abuse
Ironically, a narcissist’s self-aggrandizing, larger-than-life persona is a facade they have carefully crafted and maintained to hide their insecurities and low self-worth. As with other personality disorders, there is a close correlation between narcissism and substance abuse. For example, both conditions share characteristics such as denial, gaslighting, manipulative behavior, an inability to maintain healthy relationships and a refusal to take ownership of problems.
When personality disorders and addiction occur simultaneously, treatment professionals call it a dual diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders tend to develop alongside each other, with each disorder worsening the other’s symptoms.
Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatable?
Unfortunately, some narcissists may not realize they have a treatable mental health issue because their thoughts and behavioral patterns feel natural and correct. Since narcissists struggle to relate and empathize with people, they might also blame others for any relationship problems that arise from their narcissism.
Many people with one personality disorder may exhibit symptoms of another, making it challenging to receive an accurate diagnosis. However, with counseling, narcissism and other personality disorders are treatable. A therapist can help you learn to recognize unhealthy thoughts, improve your self-esteem and have more realistic expectations for others and yourself.
Find Sanctuary at Rising Roads Recovery
If you have a dual diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder and substance abuse, mental health and addiction treatment can help restore your psychological and emotional well-being. Remember, your behavior doesn’t only affect you – dealing with a narcissist or addict can be traumatizing and leave people feeling profoundly guilty and ashamed.
Help yourself and the ones you love by seeking treatment at an accredited facility like Rising Roads Recovery. We offer integrated gender-specific services to inspire women to thrive in recovery. Learn more by connecting with us today.