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Narcissistic personality disorder

Definition


Disease: Narcissistic personality disorder Narcissistic personality disorder
Category: Psychiatric diseases

Disease Definition:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which the patient has little regard for others’ feelings, a deep need for admiration, an inflated sense of own importance and believes to be superior to others. However, a fragile self-esteem that is vulnerable to the slightest criticism lies behind this mask of ultra-confidence.

 

People with personality disorders have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships, work, school and other areas of their life.  The treatment of this order is centered on psychotherapy.
 

Work Group:


Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

Narcissistic personality disorder is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders and is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior.

 

Symptoms of this disorder might include:

 

  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Expecting others to go along with his/her ideas and plans
  • Believing to be better than others
  • Believing to be special and acting accordingly
  • Believing that others are jealous
  • Being jealous of others
  • Being easily rejected and hurt
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
  • Expressing disdain for those believed to be inferior
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Exaggerating achievements or talents
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of the self that put the patient on a pedestal. Although these features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, but it’s not the same. On the other hand, people with healthy confidence and self-esteem do not value themselves more than they value others.

 

People with narcissistic personality disorder often monopolize conversations and may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. They may look down on people they perceive as inferior, they may have a sense of entitlement, and become very impatient or angry when they do not receive the special treatment that they feel entitled to. This makes them insist on having for example the best athletic club, social circles, car or medical care, simply the best of everything.

 

However, a person with this condition may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation as well as troubles handling anything that may be perceived as criticism, because a fragile self-esteem often lies underneath those narcissistic behaviors. Patients may react with contempt or rage and efforts to belittle others so that they can feel and appear better.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in relationships, work, school, financial affairs and many areas of life. The patient may be confused and unhappy in general by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions, in addition to the unfulfilling relationships because others might not like being around him/her. However, the patient may not want to think that anything could be wrong because doing so would not suit the self-image of perfection and power.

 

Patients should consider reaching out to a trusted mental health provider or health care provider when seeing any of the previous problems in life, and then they can get the right treatment which can make life more enjoyable and rewarding.
 

Causes:

The exact causes of narcissistic personality disorder are not known but they are believed to be complex as with other mental disorders. Some evidence suggests the connection between the brain, behavior and thinking which is known as genetics or psychobiology, while another relates the cause to a dysfunctional childhood like abuse, neglect, excessive pampering or extremely high expectations.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder is a rare disorder that occurs in men more than women. This disorder often begins in early adulthood; however, some teenagers seem to have features of narcissism, but this does not mean they will acquire narcissistic personality disorder because these features might be simply normal of their age.

 

Today, psychopathologists believe that parental neglect is more probably accountable to a pathologically intensified sense of self; however, in the past, psychiatrists believed parental excessive admiration, indulgence and praise to be responsible. Researchers continue to learn more about the factors that may increase the risk of developing the cause of narcissistic personality disorder.

 

Other risk factors for this disorder might contain lack of affection and praise, neglect and emotional abuse, and parental disdain for fears and needs during childhood. There is also the unreliable or unpredictable care giving from parents as well as learning influential behaviors from them.

 

Children who are taught by their parents not to accept vulnerability may hide their emotional needs with egotistical, arrogant behavior that they think makes them emotionally impenetrable; this will make them lose their ability to sympathize with the needs of others.
 

Complications

Complications:

If narcissistic personality disorder is untreated, it may cause complications such as:

 

  • Depression
  • Relationships difficulties
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems at work or school
  • Eating disorders specifically anorexia nervosa
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
     

Treatments:

There are no medications particularly used to cure narcissistic personality disorder and the treatment of the disorder is centered on psychotherapy. However, anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications might be useful if the patient has symptoms of anxiety, depression or other conditions.

 

Therapies that might be useful for narcissistic personality disorder include group therapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy:

Group therapy:

In this type of therapy, the patient meets with people who have similar disorders. This therapy might be useful to the patient by relating better with others, offering support and learning about others’ feelings and listening to them.

Family therapy:

In this type of therapy, the patient as well as his entire family gathers to help him/her cope with relationship problems by exploring conflicts, communication and problem solving.

Cognitive behavioral therapy:

This therapy typically helps patients diagnose negative and unhealthy behaviors and beliefs, and then replace them with ones that are positive and healthy.

 

Psychotherapy could help patients understand the reasons of their emotions and what leads them to doubt others, compete, and hate others and even themselves. It could also help patients relate better with others, the thing that makes relationships more enjoyable, rewarding and intimate.

 

Generally, therapy might take a few years because personality attributes can be difficult to change. The constant aim of narcissistic personality disorder psychotherapy is to reform the personality to some level at least in order to make the patient form a rational self-image and change his/her ways of thinking that misshape it. The temporary aim of the psychotherapy is to address low self-esteem, substance abuse, shame, depression and such cases.
 

Prognosis:

Not available

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