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What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Mental health awareness is important. There are many Personality Disorders. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the clinical term for the psychological disorder known as Narcissism. The name derives from Narcissus, a man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by an extreme sense of self-importance and egotism, unrealistic fantasies about themselves and their abilities, and a preoccupation with power, prestige, vanity, attractiveness or social status.

Individuals suffering from this disorder have an overwhelming sense of entitlement. They seek constant attention and admiration from others, becoming aggressive if they are not admired while also refusing to acknowledge it when their own ego is injured. Individuals suffering from narcissism feel entitled to all the admiration, adoration and perks possible because they are special. They often become impatient or angry if they do not receive what they feel is owed to them. The emotional development of individuals suffering from narcissism is impaired in some way, causing them to consider themselves much more important than others. Such people tend to be very arrogant in their behaviour.

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This disorder is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence, although it can go undetected until adulthood. The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder are often observable by other people, family members and teachers. Therefore, diagnosing individuals with this disorder becomes easier once the individual reaches adolescence. However, because children do not have fully developed personalities at an early age, diagnosing becomes more complicated. When an individual reaches adulthood, their personality becomes well developed, and the diagnosis is made much easier than in children.

Individuals suffering from narcissistic personality disorder are preoccupied with fantasies of success, beauty, power or intelligence. They fantasize about unlimited success and self-importance. Such people feel that they should be treated as special, above others. If they are not accorded this respect, they consider themselves to be victims of injustice. Sometimes their fantasies are so strong that individuals suffering from narcissistic personality disorder feel envious of other people who possess the same characteristics as them yet receive more attention or praise than them. Such feelings drive them to become aggressive and even violent. Other people have a hard time understanding why these individuals become so easily offended and respond with aggression when they feel their abilities are not being recognized.

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There is no single cause of narcissistic personality disorder. However, it is widely believed that this disorder stems from an individual’s upbringing or the environment during childhood. It could be the result of a severing of the emotional bond between a child and his parents. In such an instance, it is likely that the child would develop feelings of insecurity due to lack of contact with his parent(s). Such feelings normally result in their being overly dependent on others for reassurance and validation. Sometimes these individuals also have been victims of abuse or neglect from parents. This type of experience would lead to them feeling insecure and unworthy. If such a person does not receive validation and encouragement from their friends, family members or teachers, they begin internalizing these feelings.

Psychologists believe that narcissistic personality disorder stems from low self-esteem in combination with an inflated ego. The individual suffering from the disorder often views people as either inferior or superior to them. Some psychologists believe that the cause is genetic, but there are no studies to verify this theory.

Treatment of individuals suffering from narcissistic personality disorder is difficult because they do not admit that there is anything wrong with them. They often prefer using drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with problems. Therapy may be used to deal with the low self-esteem and help re-gain a healthy outlook towards others. However, there is little success in such cases.

Narcissistic personality disorder is not cured easily because the patient prefers living in his own world, thinking he is special and should be respected by everyone around him. Narcissism can be a defence mechanism for individuals who do not have a healthy sense of self-esteem. These people often lead unhappy lives because they are unable to accept their limitations and failures. Often their anger and aggression are directed towards those closest to them.

Despite the difficulties in treating narcissistic personality disorder, there are therapies that can be used to help an individual in coping with his daily problems in a healthy way. There are support groups that provide assistance for people who have the disorder and wish to overcome it. The support groups help them learn how to interact with others, work together and enjoy healthy relationships. Individuals suffering from narcissistic personality disorder need this type of therapy in order to overcome their resentment towards society and feel fulfilled.


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