Narcissistic personality disorder
A narcissist, by definition, is someone with a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, whose symptoms begin in early adulthood”.
Characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder
- People with NPD expect to get special treatment.
- They exaggerate their own smarts, success, power, and looks.
- The lack of empathy leads them to take advantage of people, with no regrets.
- Narcissists may be extremely jealous and ultra-sensitive.
- Because they tend to be very thin-skinned, they may angrily lash out at any criticism or pushback.
- Narcissists also may lash out when they feel like they’re not getting special treatment.
- Underneath all of these traits is a deep sense of insecurity.
- And — no big surprise, when you consider all these traits — narcissists may find it super-difficult to have healthy relationships, and have loads of trouble at work or school.
- A narcissist is envious of others and believe others are envious of them
- A narcissist behaves in an arrogant or haughty manner
Causes of narcissistic personality disorder
It’s not known what causes narcissistic personality disorder. As with personality development and with other mental health disorders, the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to:
- Environment― mismatches in parent-child relationships with either excessive adoration or excessive criticism that is poorly attuned to the child’s experience
- Genetics― inherited characteristics
- Neurobiology— the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking
Treatment of narcissistic personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder is rarely the primary reason for which people seek mental health treatment. When people with NPD enter treatment (psychologic or psychiatric), they usually are prompted by difficulties in their lives, or are seeking relief from some other disorder of their mental health, such as a major depressive disorder a substance use disorder (drug addiction), or bipolar disorder. The reason for such an indirect path to psychotherapeutic treatment is partly because narcissists generally possess poor insight, and are unaware that their actions produced their mentally unhealthy circumstance, and so fail to recognize that their perceptions and behaviors are socially inappropriate and problematic, because of their very positive self-image (inflated self-concept).
- In general, psychotherapy is the basis for treating narcissistic personality disorder. In the 1960s, Heinz kohut and Otto kernberg challenged the conventional wisdom of the time with clinical strategies that applied psychoanalytic therapy to NPD clients, which, they claimed, effectively treated that personality disorder. Contemporary psychotherapy treatments include transference-focused therapy; metacognitive therapy; and schema therapy, to treat the client’s particular subtype of NPD. Improvements to the mental health of patients with NPD are possible with psychopharmaceutical treatment of the symptoms of the comorbid disorders; despite such drug therapy, the psychologist Elsa Ronningstam said that “alliance-building and engaging the patient’s sense of agency and reflective ability are essential for [achieving] change in pathological narcissism.” psychiatric medications usually are not indicated for treating NPD, but can be used to treat the co-occurring symptoms of psychological depression, anxiety, and impulsiveness, when present in the NPD client. In the field of relationship counseling mental health therapy is most beneficial when both partners participate in the treatments.
Tips for Dealing with a Narcissistic Personality
- See them for who they really are.
- Break the spell and stop focusing on them.
- Speak up for yourself.
- Set clear boundaries.
- Expect them to push back.
- Remember that you’re not at fault.
- Find a support system.
- Insist on immediate action, not promises.
- Understand that a narcissistic person may need professional help.
- Recognize when you need help.
Complications of narcissistic personality disorder
Many people with NPD have another trusted source health condition. This might be:
- Misuse of drugs or alcohol
- A panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Other personality disorders
- Anorexia nervosa
Someone with NPD may also have a high risk of:
- Relationship problems
- Difficulties at work or school
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors trusted source
There may also be a risk of cardiovascular complications. Some research trusted source has found that males with NPD have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood, an issue linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Prevention narcissistic personality disorder
Because the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown, there’s no known way to prevent the condition. However, it may help to:
- Get treatment as soon as possible for childhood mental health problems
- Participate in family therapy to learn healthy ways to communicate or to cope with conflicts or emotional distress.
- Attend parenting classes and seek guidance from therapists or social workers if needed.