Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Narcissistic Personality Disorders is a personality disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self often comes to a lack of empathy for everyone around. They always have a need for admiration in every work they do. But before we get into NPD let us first know about what is personality disorder actually.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder : Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Personality Disorder

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorders in which the person has a rigid pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. They have trouble in interpreting the situation and the people around them. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (life situations) and inherited characteristics.

Everyone who has read the previous article, I have discussed all the clusters of personality disorders but I will again write all of them for the readers who haven’t read it. The personality disorders are hereby classified into three clusters and after coming to that we’ll discuss one specific personality disorder i.e. Narcissistic personality disorder.

Types of personality disorder

Cluster A Personality: A disorder of odd/eccentric reactions

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder: It is a pattern of suspiciousness and distrust of people around them. They often assume others want to harm or deceive them in one way or the other.
  • Schizoid personality disorder: The person has no interest in any social relationship even the blood ones don’t mean anything. Limited range of emotional expressions.
  • Schizotypal personality disorder:  It features eccentricities in speech, appearance, behavior.  Distortion in thinking pattern, magical thinking or odd beliefs, flat emotions and suspicious response to others.

Cluster B Personality: Disorder of dramatic, emotional or erratic reactions

  • Histrionic personality disorder: The person has an excessive need for attention and when not given can resort to extreme means to get it. Exaggerated emotions are also a thing in them.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: A person who has lack of empathy even for the dead ones and a need for admiration in every work they do.  They have a grandiose sense of self which often becomes a trouble.
  • Borderline personality disorder: Associated with symptoms including emotional instability, suicidal behavior, display of anger, fragile self-image. The person cannot endure abandonment at any cost.
  • Antisocial personality disorder: Disregard for rules, norms. Someone who does not confirm to the society’s rules. They often lie, steal or deceive others.

Cluster C Personality Disorder: It involves anxiety and fearfulness.

  • Avoidant personality disorder: The person is extremely sensitive to criticism and has feelings of inadequacy. Not willing to engage with anyone unless they know they will be liked by all.
  • Dependent personality disorder: It involves a chronic pattern extreme dependence on the caregivers.  Submissive behavior even when they are being treated badly, constantly need assurance otherwise they feel alone or helpless.
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: It is a preoccupation with details, rules, orderliness, perfectionism. They sometimes work for days at a stretch because of their strict values.  It is not the same as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Also Read: Dissociative Identity Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Causes of personality disorder

Genes: There are certain personality traits that are passed through our parents. These traits are also called temperament.  People are genetically predisposed to personality disorders according to research.

Environment: The surroundings we grew up in, the people we had around us, the relationships we had and the events that took place. Early childhood has a powerful influence upon behavior later in life.

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Risk factors involved are: There can be many triggering thing that could have happened in a life of a person.

  • The family history of personality disorders or any other disorder
  • Abusive or unstable childhood
  • Getting diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPD)

A type in which a person has an inflated sense of self often comes to a lack of empathy for everyone around.  An excessive need for attention and admiration but when reality dawns they are the most vulnerable beings sensitive to slightest of criticism. They often turn remorseful to people who don’t praise them for all the work they do. It is needless to mention that is the type of behavior causes disturbances in all areas of life to be it family, work, social group etc. One cannot simply be at peace with a narcissistic personality around them.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder : Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


Signs and the Symptoms of NPD

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The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. Let me put it in points.

  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Require constant admiration
  • Uses different propagandas to take advantage of others, thus feeding their ego
  • A believe that they are superior and others must comply with them
  • They don’t recognize others feelings and needs
  • Often envious of others. No one can be in their comparison.
  • Shows arrogant behavior toward the people below him
  • Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success
  • Easily hurt or jealous, power seeking, setting of unrealistic goals
  • Insist on having the best of everything

They have trouble in handling criticism and the ways they respond can get destructive for them and others around. These personalities have difficulty in regulating emotions, become angry when not given attention and feelings of humiliation and insecurity. They are long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior which often get diagnosed in adulthood. Because in its teenage years the person constantly adapts and shapes its personality so it is hard to say that a narcissistic personality exists in those years.

Sometimes you can find yourself attracted to a narcissistic personality. It is because of the confidence they show, steal the limelight wherever they go but later as you go deep into that person’s personality, you can easily find the symptoms. It is more prevalent in males than females. And according to statistics around 6 % of the population is seen to be affected with it.

Also Read: 5 Things To Do On A First Date To End Up In Bed

Causes of NPD

The causes for personality disorders is not actually known properly. So is for the narcissistic personality disorder.

  • Environment: Childhood experiences such as overpraising or high parental expectation, lack of warm or nurturing support can contribute to narcissistic behavior.  Learning of manipulative behavior from parents or others, childhood abuse. Psychological factors like a child’s own temperament shaped by the environment and coping skills to deal with stress.
  • Genetics: According to a recent study there has been evidence that a genetic predisposition and other biological or biochemical factors may be linked to narcissistic personality disorder.
  • Neurobiology: The connection between the brain, behavior, and thinking.

Complications of NPD

A person who has an untreated NPD has greater chances of abusing drugs or alcohol, of having depression or anxiety, problems at work or school, suicidal tendencies or relationship difficulties. A study that was published found out that males with narcissistic personality disorder have higher levels of cortisol in their blood. Cortisol is a stress hormone. High blood cortisol is linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Treatments Available For NPD

Getting the treatment as soon as possible is important. Psychotherapy or the talk therapy as it is called helps people to open their real self, keeping behind all the superficial things. To gain a better understanding of emotions and interpersonal relationships. The fragile self-image needs to be cut off so that a healthy self-image can be made. The process is slow and long might even take years for a complete cure. Medications are prescribed to help with excessive anger or debilitating symptoms. Participate in family therapy to learn how to communicate and cope up with stress.

Well, all this has to be done with a mental health professional who is trained to carry out this work. People generally don’t seek treatment because they feel there is nothing wrong that has to be treated. Till the time the disorder has taken a full toll on their life and relationship, people don’t step and seek a doctor. The symptoms and life history of the patient will be noted and then checked whether they meet the criteria or not. Keeping an open mind to the treatment, educating yourself about the condition is important. Taking responsibility for your behaviors and handling criticisms and failures as they come. Start developing a healthy relationship with family, people at work and friends.

Life is difficult can be frustrating sometimes. Living with someone who has a narcissistic personality is tougher. It is not easy to leave people even when you see the dark side. We think we can change them with our love and a little patience. How can we ditch them when they need us the most? We cannot it’s not easier but if the person doesn’t recognize that something is wrong with the way they behave then move away. Make them understand that perhaps this is not how the world works and they are the not the center of attention and if they still don’t agree with you, then go away. Your mental health is equally as important as theirs.  And if they can’t respect that then move away before they destroy what is left of you.

They will never talk good about you even when you have faced a thousand storms for them.  Tell yourself it is not being selfish and it is taking the right step in a new direction. Love yourself before giving it to others. Seek help after you have moved out from their lives because you need to rebuild yourself. And if you are the person who has NPD then come forward, seek treatment and make a better life for you and others.

A quote on narcissist’s- “I don’t care what you think unless it is about me”- Kurt Cobain

Also Read: Borderline Personality disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Your experience might help someone.

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Shubhangi More
Shubhangi More
A passionate writer.

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