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About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder that manifests as an excessive preoccupation with self, with symptoms of extreme vanity.  The narcissist typically demonstrates a grandiose sense of importance coupled with a lack of empathy for others.  In addition, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be preoccupied with fantasies of great success, power, intelligence and talent; believe that he is “special” and unique; require excess amounts of admiration and attention; displays a sense of entitlement; place unrealistic expectations on others; and be arrogant and condescending toward others.  In addition, narcissists frequently feel and act as if no one else is on a level to be able to understand them.  Narcissism is more frequently diagnosed in men than in women, and shares some traits with Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Treatment programs for Narcissistic Personality Disorder face the threshold difficulty that narcissists rarely voluntarily seek treatment.  As with Antisocial Personality Disorder, one of the more effective treatments is schema therapy, which is a combination of different elements from cognitive, behavioral and gestalt therapy along with object relations treatment.  In serious cases, referred to as pathological narcissism, patients can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of the therapist’s input, while remaining unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior.  One of the main purposes of therapy to reduce or replace their insistence that others see them as they wish to be seen and adapt to reality.

Though Narcissistic Personality Disorder has a fairly low incidence among teens, the number of diagnoses of this condition have been increasing.  As a learned behavior disorder, narcissism frequently begins to manifest in the adolescent years.  Sometimes the symptoms of a serious problem are missed because they are seen as normal teen issues rather than indicators of a narcissistic disorder.

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