Learn About Narcissistic Personality Disorder and How It Can Hinder Substance Abuse Treatment
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition characterized by a person’s inflated sense of self-worth. These individuals rarely respect the opinions of others unless those opinions pertain to themselves.
When other people fail to express the same respect toward them that they feel for themselves, individuals diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder often experience extreme distress and may engage in destructive behaviors.
Substance abuse is common among those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, especially the use of cocaine and alcohol. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, more than 64 percent of NPD patients reported having abused one or more substances.
While treating any patient with a co-occurring mental health issue and substance abuse problem is very difficult, those diagnosed with NPD face a uniquely challenging experience in recovery. Their self-entitled worldview and tendency to deflect blame can make them extremely resistant to traditional treatment for substance abuse.
Furthermore, the elevated opinion of oneself can make it very difficult to convince a person with a narcissistic personality disorder that he or she is facing serious struggles in the first place.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The symptoms associated with narcissistic personality disorder primarily revolve around the individual’s powerful sense of entitlement. These individuals often can’t comprehend why others are unable to value them as much as they value themselves.
Instead, they expect special treatment and admiration, both from strangers and from friends and family. Additionally, they are prone to acting out in disruptive and potentially dangerous ways if they fail to receive the attention and admiration they believe that they deserve.
Symptoms commonly associated with narcissistic personality disorder include:
- Haughty, arrogant attitude
- Demands for respect or admiration
- Distorted sense of self-importance
- Willingness to exploit others
- Routinely jealous of others success
- General lack of empathy
- Obsession with proving superiority
- Exaggeration of personal accomplishments
- Unearned sense of entitlement
Risk Factors for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Medical researchers continue to search for the root cause of narcissistic personality disorder. However, most experts agree that a mixture of biological and psychosocial factors can be used to determine an individual’s likelihood of being diagnosed with NPD.
Because the symptoms of NPD begin to manifest during one’s teenage years, it is important for parents to become familiar with the disorder in case their child begins to demonstrate a disturbingly inflated ego.
Known risk factors for narcissistic personality disorder include:
- Unbalanced Parent-Child Relationship: Research has shown that the relationship between parent and child is an important factor with regard to developing NPD. Excessive encouragement and undue criticism can lead to a child developing a warped perception of their capabilities. These self-esteem problems can eventually evolve into symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
- Inherited Genetics: NPD is similar to most other mental health problems in that it is largely hereditary. Any individual whose parents, grandparents or siblings have been diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder will be at high risk of being diagnosed with the same disorder.
- Gender: Men have a significantly greater chance of being diagnosed with this mental health disorder than women do.
The Connection Between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse
Any case where mental illness and substance abuse are present in the same patient, also known as, dual diagnosis, is a challenge to those providing treatment. In the case of NPD, narcissistic patients typically fail to find the faults within themselves, a crucial part of the substance abuse recovery process. Rather than attempting to make amends and rebuild damaged relationships, they often simply try to justify their behavior and consider the damage to be the fault of others.
Effective dual diagnosis treatment requires the patient to confront his or her own contributions to the addiction. This is a difficult cycle to break, especially for those diagnosed with NPD. Sobriety will seem impossible to achieve until an individual with NPD learns to admit his or her own faults and take personal responsibility for his or her substance abuse issues.
Treatment for NPD with Substance Abuse
The team at The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village understands the deep link between mental health and substance abuse. That’s why we design unique, customized treatment plans for every one of our patients. This approach allows these patients to take full advantage of the resources, therapies and counseling options we have available.
The Treatment Center’s whole-person recovery philosophy can help individuals with NPD learn a different, healthier approach to living life. Learn more by calling (866) 295-6003 today and discussing treatment options with our expert admissions counselors.