Exploring the Link Between Problem Gambling and Narcissism

Narcissism and problem gambling may not be the first thing you think of, but many believe there is a link between narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and gambling problems. Of course, not all narcissists gamble, but many do, and it can be partially attributed to the desire to feed the condition and how problematic gambling behaviors can fulfill that desire. Think you know someone who displays tendencies relating to NPD or gambling disorder? Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the Impact of Narcissism

What exactly is narcissism? Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. As a result, individuals often partake in activities and surround themselves with elements of the world that cater to these feelings. Narcissism has a significant impact on how people view their surroundings. With it comes a strong sense of entitlement and thought processes that align their mind with things that relate to themselves only. A combination of these delusional thoughts, cognitive biases, and a sense of entitlement can cause narcissists to view gambling as a free card for success and may feel entitled to hitting the “big score.”

Signs of NPD and Problem Gambling

Like all conditions, problem gamblers and narcissists display certain behaviors that can clue you into the impacts of their condition. For many people with these conditions, an inability of family or loved ones to understand the signs can be the difference between early healing and more long-term problems. So if you’re living with someone displaying these signs or believe someone you know to be suffering from NPD or problem gambling, here are some signs to look for:

  • Cognitive biases – These biases leave narcissists believing they have power over chance or events and overestimate the likelihood of success for many events.
  • Risk-taking behaviors – Narcissists believe that specific actions are more likely to pay off for them, leading to riskier behaviors. This can manifest itself on their phones or at the casino table.
  • Denial – Even if things may not go their way, narcissists will often be in denial about the truth of situations that may not support their ideals.
  • Constant externalizing of problems – Narcissists may start blaming problems on others to justify their demands or explain situations that aren’t beneficial to them.

Why Narcissism Can Lead to Problem Gambling — and What You Can Do About It

For many narcissists, the instant gratification of gambling leads to rewarding and pleasurable results. Additionally, many narcissists need external stimulation to constantly fill their lack of content within themselves. This leads to a lack of control over certain hobbies and can lead to gambling disorder over time. Additionally, narcissists are drawn to the appeal of winning and winning big, as it fuels their desire to look good both to others and themselves. They’ll get to brag about their winnings and be the envy of others. The chase of that big win can eventually lead to problem gambling and an unhealthy relationship with many other activities.

So what can you do if you know someone currently dealing with problem gambling, narcissism, or other similar conditions? Getting the right help is essential. Narcissism and problems with gambling won’t go away on their own. So turn to resources such as medical professionals or get support for friends and family with problem gambling from 800-GAMBLER. With various resources like Gamblers Anonymous help meetings, there are more than enough options to help get to the root of the troubles and prevent the financial and emotional effects of gambling on families, friends, and loved ones. For more information, call 1-800-GAMBLER today or utilize our many resources to find the proper support.


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