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They may use softer tactics, such as giving backhanded compliments to others. A key feature of covert narcissism is that there are often discrepancies between how they present themselves in public and how they present in private (Carter, 2022). Covert narcissists have all the same goals as overt narcissists, such as craving attention and power over others, but their methods of doing this are more subtle, and they may be less obvious to others.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

The helpline at is available 24/7 to discuss the treatment needs of yourself or a loved one. This helpline is answered by Ark Behavioral Health, an addiction treatment provider with treatment facilities in Massachusetts and Ohio. Beginning down the road to recovery from alcohol or drug addiction may feel overwhelming, but that is where we can offer some assistance. Reach out to one of our addiction specialists for alcohol treatment help today. Treating both disorders while at a recovery treatment center can help a person remain sober once they’ve completed the program. For many of these individuals, alcohol leads to significant disruptions in their everyday life.

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Dealing with that recognition in a healthy way requires a different response than the one prompted by the disease model. In fact, empathy and support are actually not helpful in dealing with a narcissist. Depending on who the covert narcissist is can make it difficult to separate yourself from them.

Healthcare professionals may ask people about their drinking habits to assess AUD. A psychiatrist may carry out a standard psychiatric interview, which healthcare professionals use to diagnose personality disorders. Healthcare professionals may also use the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to diagnose narcissism. The researchers found that grandiose narcissism, i.e., overt narcissism, was a positive predictor of alcohol consumption. People in this group were also less likely to see their alcohol use as a problem. Often, people may be in long-term relationships with covert narcissists and not realize what they are experiencing is manipulation until emotional hurt is caused or the relationship ends.

Joining support groups

Keep in mind that only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose a mental health condition. Multiple regression analyses were conducted in Stata 14 (StataCorp, 2014). Five outcome variables (alcohol use, problems, and problem recognition, expectancies and evaluations) were tested in steps. For each regression model, gender, social desirability, and alcohol use (in the models where it wasn’t the outcome) were entered at Step 1. Though age was collected, it was not controlled for due to the sample being so homogenous.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

They honed in on impulsivity and conducted a meta-analysis of the existing literature. If so, that seems to make the kinship ties of covert narcissism and alcoholism narcissism and addiction even more evident. Likewise, they may be unable to find true love with someone if they lack a caring nature.

Highly sensitive to criticism

Overt narcissism is what we tend to think of as the standard textbook definition of NPD. An overt narcissist comes off as self-absorbed, vain and outwardly expressive about their self-importance but tends to feel insecure, less-than and inadequate on the inside. Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease the stigma around mental health issues.

Talk therapy can be an effective treatment for people with narcissistic personality disorder. It can help them learn ways to develop empathy for others, assess their capabilities realistically, and improve their ability to regulate their emotions. It is important to note that people with an addiction do not always show signs of a narcissistic personality disorder and that people with narcissism do not always develop an addiction. A 2020 review of research on narcissism and substance use disorders concludes that low self-esteem that requires external validation from others can increase the risk of substance use disorders. It also highlights that a lack of empathy toward others and feelings of invulnerability allow people to continue the problematic use of drugs, despite the obvious damage they cause to the individual and the people around them.

Is covert narcissism more common in men or women?

Exposing their innermost feelings of inferiority would shatter the illusion of their superiority. People with covert NPD are deeply afraid of having their flaws or failures seen by others. Aggressive behavior and pathological narcissism were linked to alcohol overuse in a 2017 study of Canadian men. The association remained intact even when researchers accounted for general psychological distress as a trigger for coping responses like alcohol use.

covert narcissism and alcoholism

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