Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a specific kind of personality disorder. A personality disorder is when people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, it limits their ability to function in relationships and in other social aspects in life (Mayo Clinic). Narcissistic Personality Disorder entails people having an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration from others.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder believe they are superior to others, they have no regret for the feelings of others (Mayo Clinic). While people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder seem like they have a lot of confidence, they really have very fragile self-esteem. They are vulnerable to the slightest criticism (Mayo Clinic). Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a persistent pattern of grandiosity, hypersensitivity to the evaluation of others, and a lack of empathy (New York-Presbyterian).
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder suffer from rage, shame, or humiliation when hearing criticism, they have unreasonable expectations to receive special and favorable treatment, and are unable to recognize and experience how the people around them feel (New York-Presbyterian). These are just some of the symptoms people with this disorders may experience. These symptoms may appear to be just having confidence or strong self-esteem, but in reality they are crossing a border of having healthy confidence and self-esteem. They think so highly of themselves, they put themselves on a pedestal (Mayo Clinic).
These traits are often seen in adolescents, but most grow out of this behavior. Having Narcissistic Personality Disorder causes people to belittle or look down on others they see as inferior to them. Narcissists use other people to get what they want and don’t care about the cost to the other people. People with NPD automatically aspect their wishes to be a reality or aspect especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they’re doing to do what the they want.
When not receiving the special treatment they think they deserve they become impatient or angry (Mayo Clinic). Underneath all this behavior is really a person who has a fragile self-esteem. Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has trouble handling what they believe is criticism. In order to make themselves feel better they react with rage and try to belittle the person so they can make themselves appear better (Mayo Clinic). This disorder usually surfaces during early adulthood (New York- Presbyterian).
People with NPD have vulnerable self-esteem, which makes them very sensitive to criticism. However, they do not show this vulnerability outwardly. People who suffer from NPD are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, intelligence, and love (Psych Central). They are likely to insist on going to see the “top” professionals. They feel they need to be affiliated with the “best” (Psych Central). People with NPD believe that anyone who is not special or superior is worthless. They are often envious of others or believe others are envious of them.
They often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes (Mental Health). All in all people with NPD believe they are superior, special, and unique and expect everyone around them to recognize that. The cause of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is unknown. As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex (Mayo Clinic). Some evidence links the cause to a dysfunctional childhood, like excessive pampering, extremely high expectations, genetic predisposition and other biological factors for some people (New York-Presbyterian).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is very rare, it affects more men then women and starts in early adulthood (Mayo Clinic). In the past psychiatrists believed that excessive praise, admiration and indulgence from parents may have led to the disorders. Now psychiatrists believe parental neglect is more likely a cause (Mayo Clinic). However, parents can teach their children that being vulnerable is not acceptable, and therefore children lose their ability to empathize with others needs (Mayo Clinic).
They may also hide their emotional needs with grandiose or egotistical behavior, which makes them seem “bulletproof” to emotions (Mayo Clinic). Depression is usually a frequent complication. Other complications include, substance abuse (especially those related to cocaine), suicidal thoughts or behavior, eating disorders, and relationship difficulties (Mayo Clinic). Other Personality disorders commonly linked with NPD are Histrionic, Borderline, Antisocial, and Paranoid Personality disorder (Mental Health).
Usually when signs of depression development people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder then seek help. They don’t realize they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder at first, patients often suffer from depression because of the criticism or rejections they have perceived. Their social life is often impaired due to their constant need for admiration and disregard for others feelings and sensitivities. They have excessive ambition and confidence, however their intolerance when it comes to criticism may disrupt their performance at work, school, or other social aspects of life (Mental Health).
This disorder is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, as well an in-depth psychological evaluation (Mayo Clinic). Physical exams are sometimes administrated to make sure there are no physical affects linked to the symptoms. To be diagnosed with NPD you must meet five or more of the symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM (Mayo Clinic). Doctors will used specially designed interview tools to assess the person. There are no laboratory test used to diagnose NPD. Less than 1% of the general population are diagnosed with NPD.
It is seen in 2% to 16% of psychiatric patients and is more often seen in males then females (Mental Health). Narcissistic Personality Disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy (Mayo Clinic). No medications are specifically used to treat the disorder, but when patients have anxiety or depression medications can be used to help treatment. The types of therapy used include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, or Group Therapy. The cognitive therapy helps identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy ones (Mayo Clinic).
Family therapy brings the whole family together to help communicate. The patient and their family work through conflicts and use problem solving to help cope with relationship problems. Group therapy helps them to learn how to listen better to others and truly listen, while learning about their feelings and offering advice and positive input (Mayo Clinic). The therapy sessions take several years, because some personality traits can be difficult to change. The short term goal is to address issues with substance abuse, depression, low self esteem, or shame.
The long term goal is to reshape the patients personality, to some extent. Eventually, the long term therapy can change their thinking patterns which once distorted the patients self image (Mayo Clinic). Psychotherapy also learn to relate better with others, so they can develop better relationships. It can help them understand the causes of their emotions that drive them to be competitive. Overtime, therapy will help the patient learn to relate better to others in a more positive and rewarding way. Therapy provides greater insight into their problems.
The overall goal of the therapy sessions are to help the person develop a greater self-esteem and realistic expectations of others around them. There are no exact methods to prevent Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Going to therapy and getting treatment as soon as possible, especially for childhood mental health problems can help (Mayo Clinic). Also parents with mental health disorders should seek help from socials workers, therapy, and parenting classes for guidance on raising their child (Mayo Clinic).
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a personality disorder that specifically deals with the patients self esteem and how they perceive criticism. While there is not a direct cause for this personality disorder parents should watch for signs and follow guidelines to prevent their children from developing this. People with NPD show a “tough” exterior, while in reality their self esteem is low and they find themselves easily hurt by criticism. They feel they need to be the best, be surrounded by the best, and have the best.
With time and therapy symptoms of this disorder slowing diminish.
Works Cited Grohol, Psy. D. , John M. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder. ” Psych Central. American Psychiatric Association, 28 Mar. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2009. . Long, M. D. , Phillip W. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder. ” Internet Mental Health. N. p. , 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2009. . Mayo Clinic Staff. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder. ” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2009. .