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Narcissism (narcissistic personality) is distinguished by a belief in its own uniqueness and having great possibilities, combined with a lack of empathy and an arrogant approach to other people. Patients who struggle with narcissism also experience other problems, including it is very easy to offend them and they can drastically end their various relationships with other people. Narcissistic personality is a serious problem - what are its causes, how to deal with it and is it possible to treat narcissism?

Narcissism - characteristics

Narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) , like other types of personality disorders, is a difficult diagnostic problem. It is connected with them, for example, that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish whether, for example, the occurrence of theatrical behavior in a given person is simply a character trait, or whether it is related to the fact that such a person is struggling with a histrionic personality disorder. Some personality disorders are easier to recognize, others more difficult - we deal with the first of these situations in the case of a rather characteristic problem, which is the narcissistic personality.

Narcissismis a relatively well-known term, but where does this term come from? Well, it comes from Greek mythology and one of its heroes - Narcissus. This hero fell in love with the man he saw in the lake's surface. Narcissus was initially unaware that he had feelings for his own reflection. When he realized this …

It is from the above-mentioned myth that the term narcissistic personality was derived. These types of personality disorders typically start in adolescence (however, it should be emphasized that some features of narcissism may temporarily appear in adolescents and then - completely spontaneously - disappear). The exact prevalence of narcissistic personality disorder is not known, according to the available statistics it is estimated that 0.5-1% of humanity is affected by this type of personality disorder.

Narcissism: causes

The causes of narcissism have not been managed to this dayunequivocally define. Currently, the most popular theory is that the development of this problem is influenced by a combination of factors such as genetic burden, problems related to the educational process, and various environmental factors.

The involvement of genes in the development of narcissistic personality disorders may be convinced by the fact that people whose families have had this problem are themselves at an increased risk of developing narcissistic personality disorders.

When it comes to the influence of upbringing on the risk of developing a narcissistic personality in a person, the relationship is definitely more complicated here. The behavior of parents, which can be classified into two completely different poles, can contribute to the occurrence of narcissistic personality disorders.

The problem occurs with an increased frequency in children whose parents are insensitive and do not pay enough attention to their offspring.

Narcissistic personality, however, is also fostered by excessive control of the child and excessive focusing attention on him. The problem may also appear with an increased frequency in those children whose parents are particularly excited about some of their talents (e.g. their ability to sing).

Yet another phenomenon that may be presented by parents and may favor the development of a narcissistic personality is excessive criticism of the child by its caregivers.

Environmental factors are also mentioned when mentioning what can lead to narcissism. The group of such problems includes various events that have a unique negative impact on the human psyche - we are talking here about, for example, being a victim of rape, experiencing any other traumatic event or being persecuted by peers.

Narcissism - symptoms

Patients with narcissistic personality disorders - as you can easily guess - are focused on their own self. They consider themselves the most important people, exceptionally talented and with special privileges. Generally, such a short description presents the essence of narcissistic personality, but in people with this disorder there are many other problems, such as:

  • sense of superiority over other people (especially towards people, e.g. less we althy or in a worse social position);
  • using others just to achieve your goals;
  • lack of self-criticism, related to the fact that patients with a narcissistic personality very often feel hurt by other people;
  • expecting other people - even passively -will follow the narcissist's instructions;
  • problems with showing empathy towards other people;
  • difficulties with maintaining interpersonal relationships - a patient with a narcissistic personality disorder may - after even a very trivial event - feel hurt enough to consider it justifiable to break a long-term friendship;
  • jealousy (often unjustified) towards other people, their position or property;
  • expect other people to even praise a patient with narcissism;
  • arrogance and haughtiness in interpersonal relations.

The narcissistic personality traits described above come from the characteristics of this problem in the American psychiatric DSM classification.

In another commonly used classification (in force in Poland), i.e. in the ICD-10, narcissistic personality disorders are not distinguished as a separate type of personality disorders, and they are included in the group of the so-called other specific personality disorders.

Looking at the characteristics of narcissism, it is fairly easy to conclude that these disorders significantly affect the daily functioning of patients. However, it should be emphasized that patients with narcissistic personality - more often than people from the general population - also experience other problems in the field of psychiatry.

Depressive disorders, for example, often coexist with narcissistic personality disorder. Other problems that also often coexist with the narcissistic personality are:

  • tendency to overuse psychoactive substances;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • eating disorders;
  • features of other personality disorders (e.g. histrionic, borderline, or antisocial personality disorders).

Narcissistic personality: recognizing

In recognizing a narcissistic personality, the main use is the finding of personality traits typical for this problem in the patient. However, psychological tests also play a significant role in the diagnosis of personality disorders. It is important that the narcissistic personality is differentiated from other types of personality disorders - first of all, this applies to those personality disorders listed above.

When it is suspected that the patient suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, it is also necessary to exclude that the patient's behavior does not result from the existence of personality disorders, but in fact they are related to completely different mental disorders. For example, behavioral changes related to the use of psychoactive substances should be excluded.

Narcissism - howto deal with it?

Psychotherapy plays a primary role in the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder. Different types of psychotherapy can help patients with this problem.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is most often used with this problem. However, beneficial effects can also be obtained through cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy or through group psychotherapy.

When it comes to drug treatments, there are basically no cures for narcissistic personality disorders. Yes, sometimes patients with narcissistic personality are recommended to use some preparations, but this is the case when they have other mental disorders - e.g. in people with extremely low mood, they may be recommended to use antidepressants.

Is treatment for narcissism effective?

Treating all personality disorders is generally a difficult challenge. It is often difficult to achieve satisfactory results of therapy, however, systematic use of treatment and good cooperation with a therapist can significantly improve the daily functioning of patients.

There is a special problem with the narcissistic personality, however - few patients really feel that they need some kind of therapy at all. This state of affairs can lead to considerable difficulties in treating narcissistic personality disorders.

After all, if a given person does not feel that he needs treatment, why would he want to use it? Here, the role of the relatives of the patient with a narcissistic personality is emphasized - supporting such a person and encouraging him to take advantage of psychotherapeutic help can definitely lead to the fact that the patient actually undertakes a treatment that will allow him to function better, both himself and him with his environment.

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