Narcissistic Personality Disorder

· May 23, 2019
People with narcissistic personality disorder often have little emotional empathy. They're also not very tolerant of criticism and have interpersonal difficulties.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition that causes the individual to have an exaggerated sense of self-centeredness and little genuine empathy for others. Typically, the person usually thinks s/he deserves special treatment and has an extreme need to be the center of attention.

Generally, they often have shortcomings in their interpersonal field, because they focus all of their attention on themselves and don’t care about what happens to others. In fact, they often only approve of third parties when they validate their self esteem through constant flattery.

However, behind their mask of extreme security, there is a fragile self-esteem that can be deteriorated with the slightest criticism. Because of this, they tend to easily fall into depressive states, since they feel unhappy and disappointed when they don’t live up to their expectations.

Likewise, they often don’t ever feel satisfied with their relationships because they constantly compare people to themselves, and there is no one as great as them.

What are the causes of this disorder? How can you identify it?

In today’s article, we’ll tell you which factors can trigger is and which signs can help you identify it. 

Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

As with other mental health disorders, there’s no exact cause to explain narcissistic personality disorder. However, experts believe it’s the result of a combination of neuro-biological, genetic and environmental factors.

Considering this, a person has a high risk of suffering when:

  • S/he has poor family relationships, either due to excessive devotion or excessive criticism.
  • S/he suffers from changes in cerebral connections of behavior and thinking.
  • Some of his/her parents or close relatives have a history of the disease.
  • S/he is excessively praised for his/her appearance or abilities.

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Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Overall, there are many signs that can help us identify narcissistic personality disorder, as well as the severity with which they occur. Often, the person who suffers it self-centered, exaggerates their abilities and looks at others as inferior.

In addition, other symptoms include:

  • An exaggerated sense of arrogance
  • The constant need to be admired or praised.
  • An expectation of recognition of superiority even if his/her achievements don’t reflect it.
  • Exaggeration of his/her achievements and talents.
  • Worries about his/er future success and perfect/idealized romantic match.
  • A feeling of superiority to others and the need to be comparing themselves.
  • The desire to only be around people who are as great as him/her.
  • A monopolization of conversation.
  • The expectation of special favors.
  • Taking advantage of others for his/her own benefit, often with a genuine disregard for their needs or feelings.
  • A lack of emotional empathy.
  • Jealousy towards others and the belief that others are jealous of them.
  • Arrogant or cocky behaviors.
  • Delusions of grandeur or the insistence on having the best of everything.
He has narcissistic personality disorder.

Similarly, a person with narcissistic personality disorder has little tolerance for criticism and has difficulty facing any situation where the opposite is true.

As a result, they also show signs like:

  • Impatience and anger.
  • Difficulties having social interactions.
  • Depreciation and mistreatment towards others to give the impression that they’re superior.
  • Difficulty regulating their emotions and behaviors.
  • Depression or anxiety caused by being imperfect.
  • Feelings of insecurity, shame and humiliation.
  • Inability to manage stress and adapt to changes.

Diagnosis

Typically, the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder is often complicated. After all, many of its symptoms are similar to those of other disorders. In addition, more than one personality disorder may be diagnosed at a time.

In order to confirm this mental illness, health professionals consider the criteria of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DMS-5). Plus, they will also do a physical examination and perform an intensive psychological evaluation.

Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

She is at the doctor's.

Unfortunately, it’s often very difficult for a person with this disorder to access and accept treatment.

Due to their egocentric behavior and belief that they are perfect, they usually won’t accept that they have a problem. Therefore, they often won’t consider getting help.

However, if he receives the diagnosis and does decide to go to therapy, the mental health professional with advise several sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Overall, its objectives are to:

  • Teach them to relate to others better.
  • Understand the causes of their behaviors.
  • Help them maintain real personal relationships.
  • Strengthen their ability to work in groups.
  • Recognize and accept the capacities they need to be able to tolerate criticism and failure.
  • Increase their ability to recognize and control their feelings.
  • Release the desire to achieve unattainable goals.
  • Improve their genuine self-esteem.
  • Control their stressful moments.

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Medication

Overall, there are no specific medications to combat narcissistic personality disorder. However, a doctor may suggest using anxiolytics or antidepressants to control the anxiety and depression symptoms. 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the condition may worsen over the years. However, this dependson the cause and the person’s lifestyle.

However, the person can see a lot of improvement if has healthy relationships and keeps getting treatment. Overall, treatment is, essentially, the key.

  • American Psychiatric Association. Narcissistic personality disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013;669-672.
  • NIH.GOV (MEDLINEPLUS). “Trastorno de Personalidad Narcisista”.
  • López-Ibor Aliño, Juan J. & Valdés Miyar, Manuel (dir.) (2002). DSM-IV-TR. Manual diagnóstico y estadístico de los trastornos mentales. Texto revisado. Barcelona: Editorial Masson. ISBN 9788445810873.
  • Millon, Theodore & Davis, Roger D. Trastornos de la personalidad. Más allá del DSM-IV. Primera edición 1998. Reimpresiones 1999 (2), 2000, 2003, 2004. Barcelona: Editorial Masson. ISBN 9788445805183.
  • Grossman, Seth Millon, Carrie Meagher, Sarah,  Ramnath, Rowena. Trastornos de la personalidad en la vida moderna. Primera edición 2001, segunda edición 2006. Barcelona: Editorial Masson & Elsevier. ISBN 9788445815380.