Me, Me, Me – Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Addiction

November 14, 2017
Johann Kassim

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is all about the self. For some, NPD caused addiction. While, for others, NPD was the result of addiction. The relationship between NPD and addiction centres on self-centeredness.  

For the narcissist, the world revolves around the self. Everything and everyone around them serve only one purpose: to please the narcissist.

The first step for treating NPD is to be aware of it. Personal, honest feedback is necessary for treating NPD. When you give honest feedback, expect resistance. The narcissist has made a home in their behaviours. As a result, it will take time and patience to treat this disorder.

Causes for NPD and Addiction

Some addicts come into treatment with an underlying narcissism. As a result, the NPD may have fuelled their addiction and vice-versa.

Narcissism comes from a feeling of importance when young. Parents who believe their child is special may treat them as such.  Children are capable of absorbing this view about themselves. As a result, these children grow up with NPD.

Another reason for NPD is low self worth. People who have low self worth will have NPD. They compensate their low self worth with narcissistic traits.

NPD causes addiction because people use to medicate feelings. An NPD person will feel the pain of adjusting to society. As a result, they may use addiction as a coping mechanism.

Similarities Between NPD and Addiction  

NPD and addiction share some shared traits, such as:

Self-gratification

For addicts, self-gratification happens when they pursue their addiction.  For narcissists, self-gratification happens by being around people who don't challenge the narcissism.

Others come second/not at all

For addicts, family/loved ones come second to the needs of the addiction. For narcissists, his/her needs trump everyone else’s.

They do not care for others

Both the addict and narcissist do not care for the needs of others. They lack any feeling for their fellow man.

They experience immense loneliness and isolation

The addict and narcissist find it impossible to be intimate with others. This leaves them isolated and alone.

As humans, we evolved to depend on others to survive. We were not designed to be alone and isolated. We are social animals at heart. We need each other for growth and nurture. Narcissism and addiction is a problem because it removes us from love and acceptance.

Treatment as an available solution

NPD is a chronic illness. There are no quick fixes or medicines that can cure it. But, there is hope. A mix of medicine and talk therapy can help the NPD client live well. Below is a list of treatments for NPD:

Anti-Psychotropic Medications

We give these medicines only to treat mood swings. These mood swings come from living with NPD and addiction.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT challenges the beliefs of addicts and narcissists. Addicts and narcissists will learn how to change their beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. This will help them to reintegrate into functional society.

Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

DBT gives addicts and narcissists room to grow. It teaches them self-acceptance yet provides them the challenge of growth. This helps addicts and narcissists to accept things as they are.

Interpersonal Group Therapy (IPGT)

Addicts and narcissists will need honest feedback from their peers. This is important because it will challenge their world. A group therapy counsellor will help the group to form some insights. These are perfect places to view the narcissism and addiction. Addicts and narcissists will have the choice to change or remain as they are. Either way, they will be aware of their behaviours and how they affect others.

Couples and Family Therapy (CT/FT)

These therapies involve the family and couples. They address the narcissism within the family/couple's relationship. Like IPGT, feedback from loved ones will provide awareness. Again, the courage to change is a choice the addict/narcissist will have to make for themselves.

Aftercare planning

Aftercare planning is important for continual growth. Addicts and narcissists need to guard against a relapse in behaviours. To do this, they could continue therapy, join 12-step programs, and choose to live in a sober home.  These programs allow addicts and narcissists to be accountable and responsible. Also, they provide a relief from the isolation of the disorder.  

Solace Sabah: We are here to treat NPD and Addiction

We are a private rehab located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.  We have a team of international counsellors and specialists in addiction and narcissism. As this is a residential rehab, you or a loved one, will be staying with other addicts and narcissists. These will be your peers in recovery who will give you some of the best insights about yourself. As they too are going through the same process, you or a loved one will have relief from isolation. At Solace Sabah, we make your journey towards change a reality.

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