- Narcissistic Personality Disorder Center
- Phobias Slideshow Pictures
- Depression Tips Slideshow
- Top Concentration Killers Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Causes
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
- Narcissistic personality disorder facts
- What is narcissistic personality disorder?
- What are causes and risk factors for narcissistic personality disorder?
- What are narcissistic personality disorder symptoms and signs?
- How is narcissistic personality disorder diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for narcissistic personality disorder?
- What is the prognosis of narcissistic personality disorder?
- Is it possible to prevent narcissistic personality disorder?
- Are there support groups for people with narcissistic personality disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder facts
- Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by an established pattern of being fixated on oneself, permeating the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the sufferer, and their relationships with others.
- People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to alternate between feeling omnipotent and devalued.
- Narcissistic personality disorder has been found to occur as often as in 6% of adults, more often in men than in women.
- Like most mental illness, narcissistic personality disorder tends to have biological, psychological, and environmental risk factors that contribute to its development.
- People with narcissistic personality disorder demonstrate a pervasive pattern of significantly inflated self-esteem, a need to be admired, and lack of empathy for others that begins by early adulthood and manifests in a number of different aspects of their life.
- While the primary treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy rather than medication, medication may be appropriate to address some co-occurring symptoms.
- One of the major obstacles to a good prognosis for narcissistic individuals is their perception that their problems are caused by others rather than by their own self-centered tendencies.
What is narcissistic personality disorder?
In order to understand narcissistic personality disorder, the concept of personality is important. As with normal personality, that of the person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has a pervasive way of thinking, feeling, and interacting with others that tends to be fairly established and fixed by the time the individual reaches adulthood. A narcissist is someone who has therefore established a pattern of being fixated on him- or herself that permeates their thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships.
The word narcissism comes from the story of Narcissus, a hunter in Greek mythology, who was well known for his beauty and for being completely in love with himself. His all-consuming self-love resulted in his eventual death, caused by his becoming so attracted to his own reflection in a pool that he was unable to stop staring at his image.
People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to interact with others and the world in general by distorting things such that they alternate between feeling omnipotent or devalued. Narcissistic personality disorder has an average occurrence rate of about 1% of the population but has been found to occur as often as in 6% of adults.
Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed more often in men than in women. It is also more often found in people who are involved with the court system compared to the general public. Antisocial personality disorder is an illness that commonly co-occurs with narcissistic personality disorder.
Quick GuideWhat's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias
What are causes and risk factors for narcissistic personality disorder?
As with most mental-health disorders, narcissistic personality disorder does not have one single definitive cause. Rather, people with this illness tend to have biological, psychological, and environmental risk factors that contribute to its development. Biologically, narcissists are thought to have a tendency to have a smaller part of the brain that is related to having empathy for others.
Psychologically, individuals with narcissistic personality disorder tend to have trouble having opposing self-images of excessive admiration and devaluing in their minds and in their relationships. They are thought to be excessively emotionally sensitive.
Early psychoanalytic theory on the emotional motivations for the development of narcissistic personality disorder focused on the relationship between mothers and sons. Specifically, it was thought that men develop this disorder as the result of having an excessively close relationship with their mother that is contingent upon always doing what she wants, with a resulting paranoid fear of being retaliated against by their father and humiliated or abandoned by their mother. Since those early theories, the social risk factors for developing NPD have been expanded to include excessive admiration or neglect by either parent.
In addition to receiving excessive, unrealistic admiration, praise, and overindulgence, or excessive criticism for misbehavior during childhood, theories about other social risk factors of narcissistic personality disorder include emotional abuse, unpredictable parental care, and learning manipulation from caregivers.
What are narcissistic personality disorder symptoms and signs?
In order to be assessed with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, an individual must demonstrate a pervasive pattern of significantly inflated self esteem (grandiosity), a need to be admired and lack of empathy for others that begins by early adulthood and is present in a number of different aspects of their life. Specific symptoms and signs of this illness can include the following:
- An excessive sense of self importance, with an expectation of being seen as superior for no reason
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or love
- Excessive belief that he or she is special or unique
- A need for excessive admiration
- A sense of entitlement to special treatment or compliance with their wishes
- A tendency to take advantage of others to achieve their own goals
- Lacking empathy for the needs and feelings of others
- Frequently envious of others or thinking others are envious of him or her
- Exhibits arrogant thoughts or behaviors
Individuals who have some symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder but not enough for the diagnosis to be assigned are often described as having narcissistic traits.
How is narcissistic personality disorder diagnosed?
Many providers of health care may help make the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, including pediatricians, primary-care providers, licensed mental-health therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. As part of this examination, the sufferer will likely be referred for a full physical examination and laboratory tests in an attempt to rule out any medical condition that may contribute to the symptoms described. The person with NPD may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help assess the presence of the illness. Thorough exploration for any history or presence of mental-health symptoms will be conducted such that narcissistic personality disorder can be distinguished from other personality disorders like histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder. The mental-health professional will also explore whether other forms of mental illness are present, since narcissism is often also associated with depression or perfectionism. In addition to demonstrating a pattern of grandiose thoughts or behaviors, need for admiration, and lack of empathy for others characterized by at least five of the previously described symptoms, other diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include the sufferer's pattern of such behaviors being pervasive throughout the person's life, as well as stable, longstanding symptoms that are not better explained by another mental illness, the effects of a substance, or a medical condition.
What is the treatment for narcissistic personality disorder?
The primary treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy (psychotherapy) rather than medication. However, medication may be appropriate to address some co-occurring mental-health symptoms like depression, irritability, or anxiety. Psychotherapy tends to focus on how the person with the disorder interacts with the therapist during therapy, examining and changing grandiose and excessively vulnerable thinking, teaching the sufferer ways to regulate their emotions, and correcting self-centered behaviors to more prosocial ways of interacting with others.
What is the prognosis of narcissistic personality disorder?
How well or poorly people with narcissistic personality disorder progress over time seems to be influenced by how severe the disorder is at the time that treatment starts, the state of the individual's current personal relationships, whether or not the sufferer has a history of being abused as a child, as well as whether or not the person receives appropriate treatment. Simultaneously suffering from other mental-health problems has been found to be associated with a lower likelihood of symptoms of NPD being alleviated with treatment. One of the major obstacles to treatment and therefore to a good prognosis for narcissistic individuals is the perception by these individuals that their problems are caused by others rather than by their own self-centered tendencies.
Is it possible to prevent narcissistic personality disorder?
Societal interventions like prevention of child abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse in families can help decrease the occurrence of a number of very different mental-health problems, including narcissistic personality disorder.
Are there support groups for people with narcissistic personality disorder?
National Alliance on Mental
Colonial Place Three
2107 Wilson Boulevard Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201-3042
Phone: 1-800-950-NAMI 1-800-950-6264 hotline for help with depression
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.nami.org
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 866-615-6464 toll-free
TDD: 866-415-8051 toll-free
Email: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Daily Health News
Mental Health Resources
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Coid, J. "Epidemiology, public health and the problem of personality disorder." The British Journal of Psychiatry 182.44 (2003): s3-s10.
Dhawan, N., M.E. Kunik, J. Oldham, and J. Coverdale. "Prevalence and treatment of narcissistic personality disorder in the community: a systematic review." Comprehensive Psychiatry 51.4 (2010): 333-339.
Gabbard, G.O., and S.W. Twemlow. "The role of mother-son incest in the pathogenesis of narcissistic personality disorder." Journal of The American Psychoanalytic Association 42.1 (1994): 171-189.
Groopman, L.C., and A.M. Cooper. "Narcissistic personality disorder." Armenian Medical Network. 2006.
Lammers, C.H., A. Vater, and S. Roepke. "Narcissistic personality disorder." Nervenarzt 84.7 July 2013: 879-886.
"The Myth of Narcissus." Greek Myths & Greek Mythology. 2014. <http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com>.
Perry, J.C., M.D. Presniak, and T.R. Olson. "Defense mechanisms in schizotypal, borderline, antisocial, and narcissistic personality disorders." Psychiatry 76.1 Spring 2013: 32-52.
Ronningstam, E. "Narcissistic personality disorder: a clinical perspective." Journal of Psychiatric Practice 17.2 Mar. 2011: 89-99.
Schulze, et al. "Gray matter abnormalities in patients with narcissistic personality disorder." Journal of Psychiatric Research 47.10 Oct. 2013: 1363-1369.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Symptoms
Do you know someone with narcissistic personality disorder? What are his/her symptoms?Post View 12 Comments
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Treatments
What kinds of treatment have you received for narcissistic personality disorder?Post View 1 Comment
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Causes
What do you think caused narcissistic personality disorder in you, a friend, or relative?Post View 2 Comments
Top Narcissistic Personality Disorder Related Articles
Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismAlcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Antisocial Personality DisorderAntisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has many symptoms, signs, and causes. Therapy is one treatment option for antisocial personality disorder. It is closely related to other personality disorders (PD), such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
AnxietyAnxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
DepressionDepression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Drug AbuseDrug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Mental Health (Psychology)Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Mental IllnessMental illness is any disease or condition affecting the brain that influence the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or relates to others. Mental illness is caused by heredity, biology, psychological trauma and environmental stressors.
ParentingGood parenting helps foster empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness, says Steinberg, a distinguished professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and desire to achieve. It helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.
PsychotherapyPsychoteraphy is often the first form of treatment recommended for depression. Psychotherapy helps depression by helping people understand the behaviors, emotions and ideas that contribute to their depression, regain a sense of control and pleasure in life, and learn coping techniques as well as problem solving skills.