Syndrome of narcissism( narcissistic personality disorder) - Causes, symptoms and treatment. MF.
Jun 02, 2018
Narcissism( narcissistic personality disorder or narcissism syndrome) is a disorder associated with a person's self-esteem violated towards complacency. Pathological( painful, with impaired) self-love is expressed in the need for increased attention to one's own person. Patients demonstrate a desire for excellence, do not control their ambitions, strive for physical attractiveness, power, wealth, very mannerisms, etc. Their value system is very infantile. Some people, characterized by a high level of intelligence, can use it as a basis for intellectual narcissism.
Everyone suffering from narcissism is trying to protect themselves from a potential sense of envy towards other people, so there is no interest in their work and activities, and contempt for others develops. The sick are often vague in their relationship, can perceive some personalities as idols, and then as enemies or fools. Consequently, the narcissists are not able to empathize with others or be emotional in a relationship, too dependent on praise, often do not thank for compliments to them. Everything that is done for them is considered for granted. Patients with narcissism are not emotionally deep, especially in relationships with other people. Most of all in life they are afraid to become "average" or like everyone else.
People affected by the disease, on the one hand, experience a sense of superiority over all, and on the other - perceived by others as arrogant, busy only themselves. One of the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of empathy. Despite the fact that patients say that they feel and think about others, in reality they do not show sympathy and compassion for people. There is an opinion that the lack of empathy( empathy with another emotional experience) in patients is associated with violations of the structures of their brain.
Changes in mood in patients are caused by unusual factors, not like in everyone. Mood swings are often caused by unsuccessful attempts to gain recognition from others. The state of emptiness or loneliness dominates, and life is perceived as an appointment. Narcissuses are not characterized by repentance, sadness or understanding of their mental state. Usually self-esteem in these people is regulated by a sense of shame, not guilt. These patients do not show much interest in moral values, aesthetic or intellectual. Their value systems are "childish" and are needed to protect their pride and self-esteem.
Causes of narrissism or what causes narcissism?
Anatomical causes of narcissism
Investigating magnetic resonance imaging( MRI) of patients suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, scientists have identified a thickening of the cortex, the outer shell and some modification of the nerve cells of the brain. It turned out that these deviations are in the part of the brain that is responsible for feeling compassionate.
Scientists have proved that the feeling of empathy( compassion, sympathy) depends on the amount of gray matter, and in patients with narcissism, its amount is significantly less than in healthy people. This served as a basis for further research on the functioning of the brain.
Causes in childhood
- Narcissism is an egocentric behavior that is caused by low self-esteem. Sometimes these standards are established by other people, for example, by parents, which leads to the development of protective mechanisms, to the denial and distortion of facts, to the splitting of the individual.
- Incorrect parenting, for example lack of restrictions, permissiveness, is considered one of the main causes of the syndrome. Parents who overly praise, idealize and pamper the child, thus contribute to the development of narcissism.
- Lack of discipline about what a child can and can not do.
- No healthy self-esteem is formed if it is only in the interests of the parents.
- Narcissistic personality disorder develops to fill the lack of support and approval of parents.
Narcissistic features are quite common in adolescence, but this does not necessarily mean that the child will be narcissistic.
Psychological causes of
Psychologists believe that the disease is caused by a combination of factors that include genetics, upbringing and psychological factors, including temperament and ability to cope with stress.
- There is an increased risk of a narcissistic personality disorder in a child in the event of excessive care by parents or caregivers who idealize the child's talents, creating the feeling that he is unique.
- The disorder can be caused by traumatic childhood experiences. Narcissism most often arises in adolescence and early adulthood, when the character of a person is formed.
- Many theories of narcissism are based on the belief that there are genetic or hereditary factors affecting the development of the disease. In the risk group, people who are susceptible to the opinion of others.
- A huge role in the formation of personality disorder was played by the presence of television idols among young people.
- Many psychologists believe that narcissism is a product of our time and our value system. The mass media contributed to the rapid spread of narcissism in society.
- Sometimes narcissism can be associated with a mental illness( eg schizophrenia, schizophrenia-like disorder), when the narcissist becomes almost completely detached from reality, considers himself mediator of communication with the deity or spirits.
Symptoms of narcissism
Studies have shown that the diagnosis of narcissism is much more common among men. A distinctive feature of narcissism is the development of a complex of superiority. This includes exaggeration of one's own achievements.
1. Narcissists have a hypertrophied( highly developed, exaggerated) sense of self-importance.
2. Concerned by the fantasies of unlimited success, power, chic, beauty, or ideal love.
3. They think that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by people of high status.
5. Require from others excessive admiration.
6. They show themselves arrogant and ambitious in all respects. Sometimes they offend or evil play a trick on others.
7. Do not empathize or sympathize with people.
8. Often envy others and believe that everyone envies them.
9. They do not take criticism from the surrounding
10. Their imaginary achievements and success are just a mask for others, inside they hide a low self-esteem.
11. They can be overly self-confident and often take a defensive position, but in fact, patients need to protect their hypertrophied and fragile ego.
12. Respond to conflicting views of anger or fury.
13. Hide their shortcomings, cover them with other qualities or focus on the shortcomings of other people, that would divert attention from their own.
14. They are afraid of their thoughts about their own inferiority.
15. They use other people to satisfy their desires.
When to go to the doctor
Hospitalization of patients with severe narcissistic personality disorder occurs quite often.
Inpatient treatment is necessary in cases of poor motivation for outpatient treatment, when the symptoms of the disease are chronic, destroy the personality.
Diagnosis of narcissism
The most informative in the diagnosis of personality disorders is a structured interview based on the diagnostic criteria of the international classification of diseases. Here are some examples of some questions:
Why do you think you deserve special treatment?
Who do you think deserves your attention? For whom are you ready to sacrifice your time?
Is it important for you to spend time with unique or influential people?
Treatment of narcissistic syndrome
Treatment is specific to each case of the disease.
Narcissistic patients try to maintain an image of excellence, so that it has an impression on others. A physical illness can destroy this illusion and cause a panicky feeling that "my world is falling apart."
Most often, patients take a defensive position in front of a doctor, demonstrate a sense of superiority and dominance over the disease. Tolerant only apply to doctors older than themselves, with an impressive look and in a prestigious institution. However, other members of the medical team, such as nurses or nurses, can be a reason for ridicule. The patient tries to resist his shame and fear, strives to establish a hierarchical superiority over others. Some scholars interpret the existing conflict relations as a defensive maneuver.
But there is another approach to treatment, when the propensity for idealization should initially be treated by a physician favorably.
Health care professionals should demonstrate a sense of respect for the patient and recognize the patient as particularly important so that the narcissist does not enhance the ostentatious sense of pathological grandiosity.
The doctor should not show weakness in the presence of the patient, as he can try to take advantage of this and influence the treatment, put pressure on the medical staff. To help the patient learn how to regulate their self-esteem and ease the course of the disease, the therapist gradually establishes real limitations, then offers options for optimizing efforts in fighting the disease.
The therapist should be aware of the importance of narcissism in the psyche of the patient, recognize the importance of self-aggrandizement, refrain from criticism, help the patient so as not to damage his self-esteem. Do not show sympathy for the narcissist, as he will not be able to understand the manifestations of humanity on the part of the doctor. The therapist should have a good idea of the formation of the basic principles of the narcissistic type of personality, to explain them to the patient. The goals for ordinary psychotherapy should be real, since the source of all problems lies deep in the subconscious.
The main task of group psychotherapy is to help the patient develop a healthy personality( rather than stubborn narcissism) so that patients can recognize other people as individuals.
The first step towards cooperation between a psychotherapist and a patient is empathy, the patient must learn to feel compassion for the rest of the group. Structured group therapy helps to control destructive behavior, despite the weakness of the patient's "ego".In the group, the therapist is less authoritative( less threatening in nature for destroying the grandeur of the patient).The intensity of experiences decreases, aggression becomes more controlled, the best conditions for understanding the situation are created for patients.
Group therapy should also include individual sessions with each patient. A patient with a narcissistic personality disorder in the course of the whole treatment is often concerned with the preservation of self-esteem. It is very likely that the patient will leave the group at the first sign of "mental exposure"( when the therapist will try to reveal the essence of the disease).
One should know that narcissism is often burdened by a borderline personality disorder and narcissus needs additional support from the therapist.
Prevention of narcissism
- In adolescence, children are vulnerable, prone to shame and shyness. For the development of a healthy type of personality, one should support the child's self-respect and independence from someone else's opinion.
- Children should cry to express their displeasure. It's normal to let them do this for a while, they need to know that not every of their needs can be satisfied instantly. Necessarily, in a suitable case, you need to tell the child "no."For urgent needs, of course, this does not apply.
- Tell the child that he is loved instead of the word "beautiful".Because of this you will avoid vanity.
- The praise of a child after he really did something is normal. But frequent and excessive praise will cause an exaggeration of their talents.
- Do not brag about the child's achievements in his presence, make sure he does not hear. This can make him feel that he is better than others and no one can compete with his talents.
- When arguing with your partner, go to another room and make sure that the child will not witness a quarrel.
- Do not practice the "good and evil parent" system, this can lead to an imbalance of relations and will hurt his feelings.
- Prevent excessive attention to your child from other family members and acquaintances. The child may have the impression that he is a "golden child".Very quickly he will begin to feel that he has the right to everything.
- Children should understand that they live in a society, and not a society exists for them.
Doctor psychiatrist Kondratenko NA