Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health disorder that falls under the category of dramatic personality disorders. Those with narcissistic personality disorder have distorted self-images, and have an extreme love of self. Narcissistic people have a strong need for admiration from others, as well as a strong need for power and success; they often believe that they are better than others. These symptoms mask a deep-seated sense of insecurity and a very low and fragile self-esteem. Other characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder include:
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Taking advantage of others to further personal goals
- Being self-centered
- Being very boastful
- Attention seeking behaviors
- A belief in being entitled to special or better treatment
- Exaggerating talents and achievements
- Preoccupation with fantasies of love, intelligence, beauty, power, etc.
Mental health experts believe that the causes of narcissistic personality disorder originate in childhood, from extremes in parenting. For example, parents who base their own self esteem on having a special child often end up making extreme parenting decisions that can lead to narcissism in early adulthood for the child. Narcissism can also develop from the opposite extreme in parenting, with children who have suffered abuse and neglect also developing narcissism by early adulthood.
Narcissistic personality disorder treatments focus on psychotherapy, in which the patient works with a mental health professional toward insight into his or her problems and attitudes. Once this understanding is achieved, the focus shifts toward developing changes in behavior, including how to relate with others; the overall goal is to develop better self esteem and a realistic expectation of others. Narcissism medications can also be helpful to treat other conditions associated with narcissistic personality disorder, including anxiety and depression.
Like regular anxiety and depression, medications for these narcissism symptoms do work, although they are only part of the overall treatment necessary. Narcissism medications work at helping patients control anxiety and depression, but can't help patients work through their personal issues. Likewise, they can't help patients make the necessary changes in their thought processes to live a healthier life. It is for this reason that psychotherapy and medication must be used together if a patient hopes to achieve significant changes in their narcissistic personality disorder symptoms.
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