Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental condition which people have an inflated sense of their own importance. It often involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack
of empathy and consideration for other people.They tend to seek excessive admiration and attention and have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat. People with this disorder believes that they are superior to others and they are unable to perceive others feelings and quite often end up in hurtful terms. Hence, people with NPD are often recognized as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative and demanding.
Narcissistic personality disorder is also called as :
- Anxious Personality Disorders
- Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)
- Dramatic Personality Disorders (DPD)
- Eccentric Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)
- Schizotypal Personality Disorders
According to American Psychiatric Association’s manual (DSM-5), the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder are :
- Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Find themselves superior and unique.
- Only engages with people who they consider similar and match their standards.
- Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.
- Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
- Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
- A lack empathy, or ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and a tendency to disregard others’ feeling
- Shows arrogant or haughty behaviors and attitudes.
- Difficulty maintaining healthful relationships.
But, they also seek out for praise and positive reinforcement from others. They are highly vulnerable to criticism, humiliation, shame and insecurity. The person with NPD tend to lose their patience easily when they are provided with utmost attention and treated specially. They have trouble in switching between the emotions. Often experience major problems when dealing with stress and adapting to change.
The exact causes for the narcissistic personality disorder are not known. The study suggests that it may be linked to :
- Environment – over adoration or over criticism from the parents and early life experiences
- Genetics – inherited characteristics
- Neurology – the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking
The diagnosis of NPD can be made by a mental and behavioral health professional using DSM-5 diagnostic guidelines. No specific lab tests exist that can diagnose narcissistic personality disorder , but X-rays and blood tests may help rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. It often begins in the teens or early adulthood.
A person with untreated NPD has a greater chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, of having depression, relationship problems, difficulties at work or school, and suicidal behaviors or thoughts.
A study shows that narcissistic personality disorder affects more males than females, and males with NPD have higher levels of cortisol in their blood which is a stress hormone. A person with NPD may have higher levels even when stress levels are low which may indicate risk of cardiovascular diseases.
As there is no cure for this disorder, Psychotherapy may be useful in helping people with narcissistic personality disorder relate to others in a healthier and lead their lives in a more positive way.
Types of psychotherapy which might be useful are :
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Psycho-dynamic therapy