What Is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

By james
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There are countless different types of personality in the world. Some people are quite reserved whereas others are more outgoing. Many people are modest, whereas other people are more boastful. We might not always like individuals of a certain personality type, but it won’t usually cause any significant problems.

Some people’s personality types can be extreme, to the point where it is considered a disorder. Such disorders have the potential to cause considerable damage to the life of the patient, and to other people around them. One example of such a disorder is narcissistic personality disorder, and it has the potential to be very damaging indeed.

1. Narcissus

Narcissistic personality disorder takes its name from a story in Greek mythology. Narcissus was a hunter who was the son of a god, and was very good looking. His good looks meant that many people would fall in love with him, but he treated those people with contempt. This caused anguish for some, and his behavior was soon noticed.

In order to exact justice on narcissus, a goddess by the name of Nemesis lead Narcissus to a pool. On looking into the pool, Narcissus saw his own reflection and immediately fell in love with it. So fixated was he by his reflection that he was unable to leave it, and eventually wilted away.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition where the patient has an unrealistic sense of just how important they really are. They can feel as though they should be the ones gaining plaudits and attention, and the disorder can also cause them to look down on other people. Their behavior can be destructive for other people, and also for themselves.

Narcissistic personality disorder can affect every aspect of the patient’s life. It can have a serious negative impact on their professional life, and it can also make it very difficult for them to maintain relationships. Just beneath the exterior of arrogance and air of superiority, however, is likely to be somebody that is insecure and unhappy.

3. Causes

As with so many other mental issues, it is very difficult to determine the cause of narcissistic personality disorder. The issue is very complex but we have been able to identify some factors that are associated with the condition. One such factor in genetics, as some people might simply be born likely to develop the disorder.

Another potential cause is the environment the patient grew up in. Some people that faced persistent and excessive criticism when they were young may go on to develop the disorder. In other cases, the patient will have been surrounded by persistent praise with little to no effort to challenge their flaws.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

4. Outward Symptoms

On the outside, patients with narcissistic personality disorder will generally feel that they are very important people. They can boast about and exaggerate their achievements and expect people to praise every thing they do. They can also find themselves daydreaming about their own supposed brilliance.

Those with the condition can often act in an arrogant, condescending manner, and they will often be glad to take advantage of others. They will also often believe that other people around them are envious of them. They will also insist on having the best of everything, and they will also often expect special treatment from other people.

5. Inward Symptoms

Beneath the brash outward symptoms lies a very different kind of character. People with the disorder will often feel depressed because they feel as though they are underachieving. Despite their outward arrogance, the patient can privately have feelings of vulnerability and insecurity.

Their insecurity can mean that patient will sometimes become very upset when they don’t get special treatment. Their need to make other people look inferior can sometimes make the patient react angrily. They can have considerable difficulty dealing with criticism, and can have real difficulties dealing with stressful situations. Relationships can suffer as the patient struggles with not being able to get their own way.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

6. Risk Factors

Narcissistic personality disorder is most likely to show in teens and young adults. Some young children can also show similar symptoms, but it does not necessarily mean that they have the disorder. In such cases, the symptoms will likely fade as the patient learns social skills as they grow older.

As mentioned, genetics is a possible contributor, but no risk factors have been identified in this regard. Those people that are bought up with overly doting or overly critical parents are at a higher risk, but not all people from these backgrounds will develop the disorder. Males are statistically more likely to develop the disorder than females are.

7. Complications

Narcissistic personality disorder can cause havoc with the patient’s life. The patients will likely experience regular upheaval due to problems with work colleagues, friends, and partners. It can also impact their success academically and professionally. The disorder can also have a considerable negative impact on the patient’s mental and physical health.

The disorder will lead to anxiety disorders and depression in some people, and they may also develop suicidal thoughts. It is also not uncommon for the patient to develop severe problems with alcohol and drug abuse. Substance abuse is only likely to make depression and other medical conditions worse, potentially leading to a vicious cycle.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

8. Diagnosis

One of the first steps is to carry out a physical exam. This is to help identify or eliminate the chances of the patient’s symptoms being caused by another ailment. The doctor will also likely need to look into the patient’s medical history, and they will also likely need to ask questions about their symptoms and their lifestyle choices.

In order to reach a diagnosis, a psychological evaluation will be required. This generally means a mental health expert speaking with the patient and also asking them to complete a questionnaire. If the patient’s symptoms fit certain criteria, then the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder will be reached.

9. Medicinal Treatment

The disruption and harm that narcissist personality can cause means that it will need to be treated in many cases. However, there are currently no medications that can help to treat narcissistic personality disorder directly. The condition can result in other mental health conditions that may need treatment, however, and medication may be available to help treat these.

Medications are available that can help to treat anxiety disorders and depression that can stem from narcissistic personality disorder. Such medication will be particularly important if the patient is experiencing suicidal thoughts. When it comes to treating narcissistic personality disorder directly, psychotherapy will be required.

10. Psychotherapy Treatment

Psychotherapy treatment will involve a mental health expert holding therapy sessions with the patient to help them understand and manage their condition better. The sessions will sometimes take place over a prolonged period of time, while they might sometimes be aimed toward helping the patient through a personal crisis in the short term.

Therapy sessions will help the patient to understand how their actions can impact other people, they can also help the patient to understand that people around them are on a similar level to them. The sessions can also help the patient to set themselves reasonable goals, and help them to handle criticisms better. The sessions can also help the patient to better handle relationships in all aspects of their lives.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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