Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Last Updated on November 27, 2020 by Maya Hall

Narcissism is one of the least studied personality disorders. Different subtypes of narcissist personalaties present with varying features, making diagnosis challenging. People with narcissism may also see no need for counseling and consider it pointless or beneath them. If they do begin therapy, they may react angrily when faced with challenges, try to manipulate their therapist, or find it hard to consider things from other perspectives. They often leave therapy early, especially if they don’t see any benefit in it.

Recent research aims to identify new therapy approaches that can help people living with personality disorders achieve lasting change. Schema therapy and CBT is also considered helpful for people who don’t respond to other types of therapy. It’s proven effective in treating borderline personality, another condition long considered difficult to treat.

Causes

Causes of narcissistic personality disorder are not known. Genetic and biological factors,environment and early life experiences may play a role in the development of this condition. 

Some features of narcissistic personality disorder are similar to those of other personality disorders. Also, it’s possible to be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder at the same time. This can make diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder more challenging. Some of the narcisistic personality behaviors are:

  • Exaggerated feelings of self importance
  • Reflecting on the phantasies of unlimited success, power, intelligence, beauty or perfect love
  • Believing to be special and unique, and that only those with superior personal or social status can understand them or make friends with them.
  • Considering themselves more deserving,
  • Using interpersonal relationships for their own benefit, using the weak sides of others to achieve their goals
  • Being jelous of others but believing the opposite.
  • Brash, arrogant behaviors and attitudes
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Narcissist
source: nbcnews.com

When to See a Doctor

People with narcissistic personality disorder may not want to think that anything could be wrong, so they may be unlikely to seek treatment. If they do seek treatment, it’s more likely to be for symptoms of depression, drug or alcohol use, or another mental health problem. But perceived insults to self-esteem may make it difficult to accept and follow through with treatment.

If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder consider reaching out to a doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.

Treatment

Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy (psychotherapy). Medications may help in your treatment if you have other mental health conditions.

Psychotherapy

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is all about talk therapy, also called psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can help you to:

  • Learn to relate better with others so your relationships are more intimate, enjoyable and rewarding
  • Understand the causes of your emotions and what drives you to compete, to distrust others, and perhaps to despise yourself and others

Areas of change are directed at helping you accept responsibility and learning to:

  • Accept and maintain real personal relationships and collaboration with co-workers
  • Recognize and accept your actual competence and potential so you can tolerate criticisms or failures
  • Increase your ability to understand and regulate your feelings
  • Understand and tolerate the impact of issues related to your self-esteem
  • Release your desire for unattainable goals and ideal conditions and gain an acceptance of what’s attainable and what you can accomplish

Medications

There are no medications specifically for narcissistic personality disorder. However, if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other conditions, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs may be helpful.

Sources: https://www.goodtherapy.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/

Cindy Brown
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