Narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD, is a disorder that causes people to have a distorted image of themselves. People who suffer from NPD have intense and unstable emotions and they are obsessed with power, prestige, personal adequacy, and vanity. They also have less empathy than most people and their sense of superiority is exaggerated.
This disorder is very closely related to egocentrism, where people think that their opinion and interests are the only things that matter. In addition, people with NPD in most cases don’t care about other people’s feelings. They don’t have empathy and don’t care about feelings other than their own.
Before someone can be diagnosed with NPD, there’s a wide range of criteria that needs to be met. Though there are no lab tests that can determine that someone suffers from NPD, blood tests and X-rays will help in ruling out some other health problems that might cause such a condition.
Likewise, there is a wide range of personality disorders and people can suffer from more than one. But, when it comes to NPD, the diagnosis must have the following:
- Eager for attention
- Always jealous
- Demand special treatment
- Exaggerate their importance, talents, and achievements
- Extremely sensitive and are easy to get hurt or feel rejected
- Can’t maintain healthy relationships
- Fantasize about their own power, success, intelligence, and appearance
- Don’t feel regret when taking advantage of others to achieve their goals
- Don’t feel empathy or understanding of other people’s feelings
- Believe that only special people (other NPD people) understand how unique they are
- Think that they are romantic
- Don’t react well at all to criticism
- Always demand positive reinforcement and praise from others
- Expect that everyone has to agree with them
- Always looking for “the best”
Narcissistic personality disorder treatment
For now, there is no cure for NPD. However, with proper psychotherapy, people who suffer from this disorder can learn to understand the problem and positively relate to others around them. They can learn how to change their attitude and have more constructed behavior. This leads to building self-esteem and having realistic expectation from both themselves and others.
There are 3 types of therapy for this disorder:
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
For NPD treatment, all three therapies are necessary. But the CBT is the most important one because patients learn how to identify their negative behaviors and beliefs. Also, they learn how to replace negativity with positive, healthful thoughts and actions.
Doctors haven’t discovered yet what causes the NPD. Some say that this disorder can be related to very high parental expectations during childhood, or abuse, neglect or over-pampering or so-called toxic parenting styles. Also, it can come from growing up with parents or family members with manipulative behaviors and learning from them.
Likewise, if a child learns that being vulnerable is completely not acceptable, it may not develop the ability to understand or feel other people’s feelings as a grownup.
Narcissistic personality disorder complications
People who suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder and don’t treat it, have higher chances of becoming alcoholics or drug abusers. Or suffer from depression as well, have problems with relationships, school, work, and even start having suicidal thoughts.
In addition, studies have shown that male NPD patients have a higher level of cortisol in their bloodstream. This means that they are constantly under stress. Also, a higher level of cortisol means that cardiovascular problems can develop.