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Are Alcoholics Selfish?

Are Alcoholics Selfish?

Alcohol consumption can cause selfishness, raising many social and family problems.

why are alcoholics selfish

We all know that selfishness is a part of being human, but when alcohol enters the picture, it can intensify self-centered behavior and lead to consequences.

Alcohol-related selfishness doesn't just harm relationships; it can also damage your reputation, making you appear untrustworthy and unreliable. 

In this blog post, we explore the intricacies of alcohol dependency and how it can affect behavior in different ways. By considering the psychological, social, and biological aspects, we hope to offer insight for those dealing with alcohol misuse. 

Selfishness in the Context of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Chronic alcohol use worsens selfish tendencies, causing self-centered behavior. It damages memory, resulting in forgetfulness and difficulty keeping promises. Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may display self-centered actions, such as lying and denying their behavior, as alcohol becomes their priority. This condition can negatively impact interpersonal relationships and emotional intelligence over time.

Selfish Behaviors of People with AUD

Individuals grappling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) often exhibit selfish behaviors that can strain relationships and jeopardize their well-being. Here are some common patterns:

Strong Alcohol Cravings

The intense desire to drink, even to the point of obsession, is a telltale sign of AUD. These cravings can become all-consuming, leading individuals to prioritize alcohol above all else, including personal relationships and responsibilities.

Drinking Excessively

Engaging in binge drinking or consuming large amounts of alcohol is a sign of AUD. Those with this disorder may regularly participate in binge drinking sessions, ignoring the possible consequences for their health and relationships. For example, consistently getting drunk at social events can cause arguments with loved ones who worry about their well-being.

Drinking Despite Consequences

Individuals with AUD often continue drinking despite the negative results. They may ignore work troubles or health issues stemming from alcohol use, prioritizing their own desires over others' well-being. For example, they might persist in heavy drinking even after experiencing a car accident because of alcohol, disregarding the risks to themselves and others on the road.

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Why are People with AUD Selfish?

Research suggests that people with AUD often make selfish decisions because of impulsivity and shifts in moral reasoning caused by alcohol misuse. Many rely on alcohol to handle emotions or avoid problems, unknowingly hurting those close to them. Feelings of guilt and negativity from alcohol dependency can overwhelm them, leading to self-centered behavior and giving up on controlling their drinking habits.

Psychological Factors Contributing to AUD Selfishness

Psychological factors like alexithymia, stress, anxiety, and work fatigue are key contributors to selfishness for individuals with AUD.


Alexithymia, which is the difficulty in recognizing and expressing emotions, contributes significantly to selfishness. Individuals with alexithymia often use alcohol to manage their emotional challenges, prioritizing their own relief over others' needs and exhibiting self-centered behavior as a result.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety often precede alcohol use disorder (AUD). People may turn to alcohol to temporarily ease their psychological distress, prioritizing their own emotional relief over others' concerns and displaying self-centered behavior as a result.

Work Fatigue

Work fatigue, or exhaustion and burnout from work, can lead to selfishness. When individuals are stressed from work, they may use alcohol as a way to cope, prioritizing their own need for relaxation over their responsibilities to others and exhibiting self-centered behavior as a result.


Depression affects about 20% of people who are highly dependent on alcohol. It can lead to selfishness, as individuals may use alcohol to self-medicate and feel better, often ignoring how their actions affect others.

Misconceptions and Stigma Surrounding Selfishness in AUD

There are various misconceptions and stigma associated with selfishness in alcohol use disorder (AUD). Here are a few examples:

Misconception of Moral Failing

Many people wrongly see AUD as a moral weakness, blaming individuals for selfish behaviors instead of understanding it as a complex disease. This belief creates stigma and may prevent those who are alcohol-dependent from seeking the help they need.

Underestimation of the Disease's Impact

Many wrongly believe that individuals with AUD can simply choose to control their drinking better. However, this disorder is a chronic condition with severe consequences on relationships, work, and mental health.

Role of Guilt and Shame

Those with AUD often feel deep guilt and shame because of their illness, which can reinforce the stigma around alcohol dependency. This inner stigma may stop them from seeking help, making their condition worse.

Healing from Selfishness and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) and associated selfish behaviors can be achieved in different ways. Here are a few options:

Support Groups

Support groups provide a supportive environment for individuals with AUD to share experiences, receive encouragement, and gain insight from others facing similar struggles. These groups offer ongoing peer support, accountability, and guidance throughout recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT combines medications with therapy and support to treat AUD. Common medications like naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram are used to reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and discourage drinking by causing adverse effects when alcohol is consumed.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing, is essential in treating AUD. These therapies aim to change drinking behaviors, address underlying psychological factors, and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse.

Rehabilitation Programs

Rehabilitation programs offer structured environments for individuals with severe AUD or those needing intensive support. These programs provide comprehensive treatment, including medical detoxification, therapy, and skill-building, in a controlled setting away from triggers.

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Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and Selfishness FAQs

Are AUD individuals inherently selfish?

No, not all AUD people are inherently selfish, as the disorder affects individuals differently. While some may exhibit selfish behavior due to their alcohol dependency, others may not display such actions.

Can alcohol permanently change your personality?

Alcohol can alter behavior and personality temporarily while intoxicated, but permanent changes are less common. However, continuous alcohol misuse can exacerbate underlying traits, leading to long-term behavioral changes.

How does AUD contribute to selfish behavior?

Alcohol dependency can contribute to selfish behavior by impairing judgment and increasing impulsivity, leading individuals to prioritize their own desires over the needs of others. Additionally, the obsession with consuming alcohol can overshadow responsibilities and relationships.

Take Control of Your Life Again with Confidant Health

Recognizing how alcohol use disorder (AUD) connects to selfish behavior reveals how much more there is to the issue than just your personal choices. It's a sign that you're not alone in this struggle, and there's a way forward.

At Confidant Health, we understand the challenges you're facing, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care and effective treatments designed just for you. With virtual access to treatments like alcohol rehab and a digital behavior change program, you can start your journey to recovery right from the comfort of your own home.

It’s time to regain control of your life. Reach out to Confidant Health today, and let us help you on the path to healing.

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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