Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personal disorder whereby an individual is excessively pre-occupied with their own image and vanity, unable to empathise with the damage it causes to others. Named after Narcissus, a Greek mythology character infatuated with his own reflection, it is thought NPD affects 1% of the population, with rates greater for men.
There are many symptoms for NPD, characterized mainly by an exaggerated sense of self worth and superiority. Many experts use the symptoms described in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), published by the American Psychiatric Association. They include:
- Having a grandiose sense of self-importance
- Exaggeration of achievements and success
- Seeking constant admiration
- Taking advantage of others
- Unable to emphasise with others, and not realizing the detrimental effect of their behaviour on others.
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Being pre occupied with fantasies about success, power and beauty.
It is thought that people suffering NPD usually seek medical help only when they become depressed – usually as a result of being criticsed.
There are no known causes of NPD, however research has seen some correlation between the experiences of people with NPD. In many instances, childhood experiences have possibly been the cause of NPD in many people. Such possible causes include:
- Excessive criticism or pampering during childhood from parents
- Receiving excessive praise about looks from adults
- Emotional abuse during childhood
- Learning manipulative behaviour from parents and adults.
Recent research has also identified a structural issue in the brains of people with NPD. Specifically, they they have less volume of gray matter in their left insula, which is responsible for empathy, compassion and cognitive functioning.
There are a myriad of effects produce in individuals due to NPD. One way in which NPD severely affects some, is reaction to criticism or rejection. They can feel humiliated and threatened in the face of criticism, and as a self-defense mechanism, react with violence and rage, which can possibly hurt people around them. To avoid such situations, some NPD sufferers can become social recluses and withdraw from society to curb their violence.
Another effect NPD can have on sufferers is the inability to work and cooperate with other, due to their inability to suffer setbacks and tolerate disagreements. This makes it hard for them to maintain relationships in a professional environment and outside of it, with family and friends.
Narcissism Personality Disorder can be a huge obstacle for those suffering from it, and it also affects those close to sufferers. There are many adverse social effects that come along with it, and worst of all, there is no concrete known cause of why it occurs.
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