Personality disorder that can be mental illness – 1: Narcissism

Every individual has a different personality and set of beliefs, which make him or her unique. People perceive the world around them differently, which lays the foundation for the development of their basic characteristic and personality. Many a time, an individual is unable to show his or her true self. As a result, he or she affects those around him or her in negative ways due to the lack of personal awareness. Such people are said to be suffering from a personality disorder.

Personality disorders are officially listed as mental disorders and their diagnosing guidelines are stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and in the mental and behavioral disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organization (WHO). DSM-5 also categorizes personality disorders similar to any other mental health condition.

Narcissistic personality disorder begins early in life

It is common to see individuals looking at the mirror, as many times as he or she could, self-admiring and talking about himself or herself. But when such people have an intense need for admiration and lack empathy for others, it could be a sign of a mental health condition, known as narcissism. People suffering from the condition actually have a feeble self-esteem that makes them sensitive even to a minor criticism.

Though it appears harmless most of the times, narcissism can lead to serious problems in various aspects of one’s life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. For people afflicted by the condition, not getting special attention or favors could be disappointing as it goes against their belief that they deserve such admiration or special favors.

Causes and symptoms of narcissism

People suffering from narcissism are often seen to be boastful and pretentious. They easily get offended and angry for not being treated in a special manner or given an extra attention. However, these are the only visible symptoms. In reality, a person diagnosed with the disorder feels insecure and vulnerable from inside. Hence, a narcissistic individual cannot handle criticism, to the extent that he or she may slip into depression or think of attempting a suicide, when criticized.

These people often experience unpleasant feelings of shame and humiliation without any reason. As a result, they tend to exaggerate their achievements, demand constant admiration or belittle other people, whom they perceive to be inferior.

Although the exact causes of narcissistic personality disorder are not understood well, it is thought to be triggered by various genetic and environmental factors, such as mismatched parent-child relationships characterized by excessive pampering or criticism.

However, the prevalence rate of narcissism is rare. Apparently, many a time children and teenagers are wrongly presumed to be suffering from the condition due to typicality of their age. As per the experts, children who are biologically vulnerable or are exposed to parenting styles that overemphasize their qualities and criticize their fears and failures are at an increased risk of developing the condition.

Seeking professional help

Psychotherapy or talk therapy, is the first line of treatment for narcissism. The therapist initiates a conversation with the patient to identify the weak points and enable him or her to establish better relationship with others and understand his or her own emotions and feelings.

Everybody is conscious about oneself and enjoys attention and admiration. But it is important to note that there is a fine line between personality disorder and lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to seek medical intervention at the earliest, before the disorder goes out of control.

If you feel your loved one is suffering from a personality disorder, or any other mental disorder, you can seek help from the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to know more about various mental disorders and their treatments. Call at our helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with our representatives, who can guide you to one of the best mental health centers and mental health facilities in your vicinity.