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Definition

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disease in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence 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. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling. Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around talk therapy.

How common is narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early adulthood. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder?

A great number of experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment. DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes narcissistic personality disorder?

It’s not known exactly what causes narcissistic personality disorder. As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex. Narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to:

  • Mismatches in parent-child relationships with either excessive pampering or excessive criticism
  • Genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking

Risk factors

What increases my risk for narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is rare. During childhood and teen years, children may show traits of narcissism, but this may simply be typical of their age and doesn’t mean they’ll go on to develop narcissistic personality disorder.

Although the cause of narcissistic personality disorder isn’t known, some researchers think that in biologically vulnerable children, parenting styles that overemphasize the child’s specialness and criticize fears and failures may be partially responsible. The child may hide low self-esteem by developing a superficial sense of perfection and behavior that shows a need for constant admiration.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is narcissistic personality disorder diagnosed?

Narcissistic personality disorder can be diagnosed based on:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • A thorough psychological evaluation that may include filling out questionnaires
  • A physical exam to make sure you don’t have a physical problem causing your symptoms

How is narcissistic personality disorder treated?

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder primarily consists of talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy. If symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder occur alongside depression or another mental health condition, then appropriate medications may be used to treat the other disorder. However, there are no medications to treat narcissistic personality disorder. Talk therapy can help you learn how to relate better to others so your relationships can become more enjoyable, intimate, and rewarding. Developing positive interactions with other people can greatly improve various areas of your life. Talk therapy can also show you how to:

  • Improve your collaboration with co-workers and peers
  • Maintain your personal relationships
  • Recognize your strengths and potential so you can tolerate criticisms or failures
  • Understand and manage your feelings
  • Cope with any self-esteem issues
  • Set realistic goals for yourself

Since personality traits can be difficult to change, it may take several years of therapy before you see an improvement. During this time, you may begin to see therapy as a waste of time and be tempted to quit. However, it’s important to stick with treatment. Attend all your therapy sessions and take any medications as directed. With time, you’ll begin to see a difference in yourself and your relationships with others.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage narcissistic personality disorder?

Following these tips can help you to avoid this type of disorder:

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, and other substances that trigger negative behaviors.
  • Exercise at least three times per week to boost mood.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: July 1, 2017 | Last Modified: July 1, 2017

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