Overview of (NPD)
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance. A deep need for excessive attention and admiration as well ass troubled relationships and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence which lies a fragile self-esteem, that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life such as relationships – work – school or financial affairs. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.
Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder centers around talk therapy (psychotherapy).
Symptoms of (NPD)
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can impact all areas of life since symptoms are present during work and at home. It can be hard for others to tolerate the symptoms of NPD, which can mean the sufferer becomes isolated.
Key symptoms include:
- inability to listen to others.
- fantasising about power, beauty and success.
- exaggerating achievements and abilities.
- superiority, specifically towards people perceived as ‘lower’ in status.
- lack of awareness regarding others.
- increased risk of using drugs and alcohol.
- social withdrawal.
- inflated sense of entitlement.
- obsession with class and status.
- exploiting others for personal gain.
- lacking empathy, especially for perceived weaknesses.
- strong desire for control over relationships.
- envy for those perceived as being of a higher status.
- inability to admit wrongdoing.
- distant, practical manner in regards to personal relationships.
- believing that others are envious of them.
- severe anger if orders or directions are not followed by others.
- can ‘write off’ friends permanently over small or imagined issues.
- great pride in the accomplishments of children or family.
- expecting constant praise and recognition for achievements.
- unrealistic goal setting.
- difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
- feeling hurt and rejected easily.
People with NPD may have feelings of deep insecurity beneath an arrogant exterior. With effective treatment, it is possible for people to learn to change their behaviours and have more positive relationships.
Causes of (NPD)
As with many personality disorders, the exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is unknown. Biological vulnerabilities, early childhood experiences and psychological factors form a complex mixture and may all play a part.
Early childhood risk factors include:
- insensitive parenting.
- over-praising and excessive pampering when parents focus intensely on a particular talent or the physical appearance of their child as a result of their own self-esteem issues.
- unpredictable or negligent care.
- excessive criticism.
- extremely high expectations.
Other possible factors include:
- genetic abnormalities impacting on psychobiology – the connection between brain and behaviour
- an over-sensitive temperament.
Although there is no one answer to the question of what causes NPD, professionals agree that the sooner treatment begins, the better a person’s chance for an improved quality of life.
Treatments for (NPD)
It can be difficult for someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to seek treatment since they generally do not recognise, they have a problem. The first step to recovery is for the NPD sufferer to become aware that their behaviour is affecting their life and relationships.
Psychotherapy is the most useful treatment approach although more research is required to determine the most effective therapies. The aim is to develop a more realistic self-image and enable the person to relate to others more positively. There are a number of models of therapy used:
- Psychodynamic therapy – long-term individual therapy that helps a person to understand their behaviours, moods and disruptive thoughts. These insights can help them find better ways to relate to others.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – helps people identify negative, unhelpful behaviour patterns and replace them with more productive and positive ones.
- Family or marital therapy – NPD can have an adverse affect on families. Coming together for a session can help people in dealing with relationships, with problem solving solutions and positive communication.
There’s no specific medication to treat NPD. However, people with NPD sometimes also develop depression or anxiety, and in such cases antidepressant medications may be beneficial.
If you are concerned about suicide risk for a person with NPD, then seek medical advice urgently.