Recognizing Narcissistic Behavior and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Recognizing Narcissistic Behavior and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism is an excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. It is healthy and normal for most people to care about their appearance; however, they stay extremely preoccupied with themselves and generally have little concern for others. Some characteristics of narcissism are a lack of empathy, a desire for attention, insecurity, and an inflated ego. In addition, narcissistic behaviors may include rudeness, impatience, entitlement, and little acknowledgment of boundaries.

How Is Narcissism Diagnosed?

Narcissism is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms frequently accompany other mental health disorders. Also, a person exhibiting narcissistic behaviors is less likely to present to a healthcare professional because they may not recognize their problem. Therefore, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a possible diagnosis for those with narcissistic symptoms. 

An NPD diagnosis may accompany other personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Similarities of these disorders include overtly emotional and unpredictable behavior.

A diagnosis of NPD is usually based on symptoms and their impact on life. A physical exam will probably be necessary to rule out any physical issues causing some behaviors, and a psychological evaluation will answer vital questions. Additionally, the individual may need to complete questionnaires and undergo an interview.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Someone exhibiting symptoms of grandiosity or fantasies of extraordinary power and importance may have NPD. A sense of entitlement for the acceptance and admiration of everyone is part of their life. Interpersonal conflict and functional impairment often accompany a diagnosis of NPD. 

Volatility, low self-esteem, and impulsiveness may also affect a person struggling with this mental health disorder. The propensity of interpersonal issues and unstable relationships also foster the possibility of occupational problems and social insecurities. Depressive disorders also become a major concern. 

While a psychiatrist usually diagnoses personality disorders, several measurement instruments are used to determine the severity of the narcissistic disorder. The procedure may include looking into certain aspects of a person’s personality. Research indicates that a clinical interview is the most valuable tool, focusing on the patient’s interpersonal relationships and related conflicts. Interestingly, the person with NPD does not usually come forth for diagnosis but presents due to a loved one’s referral.

How Can I Tell if I Have NPD?

It is difficult for many humans to face their shortcomings and admit their faults. Narcissism, however, elevates denial of flaws and fosters delusions of grandeur. If you feel narcissism affects you, that is half the battle. However, many factors expose selfish behavior, and if your introspection reveals some or all of the following symptoms, you may wish to seek a professional:

  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Delusions that you are better than others
  • Commands constant attention
  • Feels entitled and lacks empathy
  • Needs excessive recognition and praise 
  • Belittles and intimidates others

Loved ones are often the unfortunate recipients of the above symptoms and, most likely, the first to notice the problem. If you are concerned that you may exhibit narcissistic behaviors, talk with a loved one and actively listen to what they say. The conversation may begin your journey back to well-being and good quality of life. 

Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

As stated above, NPD is usually diagnosed with other personality disorders. Fortunately, similar treatments may be beneficial for collective personality disorders. Psychotherapy is a star treatment for narcissistic personality disorder. It may help you understand your relationships and the effect your interaction and behavior have on them. 

Therapy can also help you manage your emotions, improve your relationships with others, and aid your self-care. Knowing what drives your intentions and opinions of others is critical to addressing whether there is a problem with your reactions and interactions. It would be best if you learned to accept that you are responsible for the necessary changes.

Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy are also treatment considerations. Support groups may be beneficial, especially so you can practice new interpersonal and relationship skills you acquire through therapy. Therapies can be temporary or ongoing, depending on your needs and the severity of your symptoms. For example, mindfulness behavior therapy may help with awareness of your emotions.

How Do I Help a Loved One Who May Have NPD?

If you have a loved one exhibiting narcissistic symptoms and recognize it is causing problems with their life and the people around them, you can help. Firstly, ask your loved one if you can talk privately with them. They may not realize they are acting anything but normal, so they will probably accept your invitation out of love and curiosity. However, it is important to tread lightly; be honest and state your opinion empathetically and kindly. You may be able to steer your loved one in a direction that changes their life for the better. 

At SoCal Mental Health, we understand that your well-being and quality of life are of the utmost importance, and we are here to help you achieve those goals. We provide caring and supportive treatment for mental health issues, including depression and other mental health disorders. We will guide you through treatment, helping you understand and grow through recovery, resulting in peace of mind and an improved and happier life. You are not alone if you or a loved one are experiencing mental health issues. We can help. Within our programs, you will meet peers and support staff and develop invaluable relationships. Call and speak to a helpful representative to learn about our programs at (949) 502-2041.

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