Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Part 2
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a complicated mental health disorder that is characterised by a need for excessive admiration, severe self-involvement, and a lack of empathy. (If you haven’t already, read part 1 here in order to determine what NPD is and what the signs of this personality include.)
Although the specific aetiology of NPD is unknown, specialists have looked into a number of outside factors that may contribute to the development of this disorder.
In this article, we will discuss what the causes of narcissist personality disorder are and how help can be found.
NPD causes and contributing elements
One of the least researched personality disorders is narcissistic personality. This makes it a little more challenging to understand its causes and available treatments. In fact, there is some disagreement in medical world surrounding the actual causes of NPD.
The majority of studies think that at least two of the following elements combine to cause NPD:
– Early experiences
– The parent-child connection
– Cultural and environmental factors
To put it another way, a person may have acquired narcissistic qualities as a reaction to particular circumstances they have dealt with from very early in life, such as: a traumatic occurrence, neglect, and abandonment. It could also include events such as:
– unwarranted criticism from a family member
– living with a parent or guardian who suffers from a mental illness
– family history of NPD
– receiving excessive praise
– being surrounded by an individualistic culture
That said, not everyone will react to these circumstances in the same manner. Because of this, it is challenging for researchers to pinpoint the precise causes of this personality disorder.
Additionally, even if someone does not have NPD, these same reasons could influence them to act in a way that could be interpreted as narcissistic.
In reality, NPD isn’t all that common. Experts reckon approximately 5% of people have narcissistic personality disorder. What’s more, NPD seems to affect more men than women. The statistics show that 50-75% of individuals diagnosed globally are male.
How is NPD diagnosed?
NPD should only be diagnosed by a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist after having met with the patient and having full access to their medical background.
Although it may be easy to judge a person you know based on their actions and your knowledge of NPD traits, narcissism goes beyond a select few actions or attitudes. Therefore, making an accurate diagnosis is impossible for someone who has not received official training and education.
It isn’t always easy to identify NPD, even for a mental health expert. This is mostly due to the rarity of someone with NPD making a commitment to get help and being willing to discuss or simply attend a therapy session.
Treatment for NPD
A person with NPD will likely benefit from therapy greatly if they want to learn techniques and skills to alter their relationships with others and with oneself.
There is just one problem, a lot of people with personality disorders put off getting help until the disorder has a major negative influence on their lives.
People with NPD are more likely to struggle with other mental health issues, like:
– Substance abuse
In fact, instead of seeking treatment for NPD itself, they may instead seek help to address the above symptoms.
A person with NPD may occasionally seek treatment for factors other than the thought that they have a problem. For instance, they may experience conflict when their relationships or way of life don’t meet their own high expectations. Alternatively, they may sense they are losing someone’s respect or interest.
When a person with NPD seeks counselling for these issues, they are often unaware that these issues could be caused by their own personality traits. They may not want to take responsibility for their problems and may consider counselling as a place to vent.
In spite of seeking NPD therapy, clinical case studies show that NPD sufferers have trouble attending therapy for a long enough period of time to effect lasting behavioural changes.
But, if a person with NPD is willing to commit to long-term sessions, their therapist can help them to:
– control and comprehend their own feelings
– identify their attitudes and actions that cause conflict with others
– learn ways to stop and alter these actions
– control how they respond to criticism
– learn how to form closer, more lasting connections
– create flexible coping methods
– examine, accept, and comprehend the viewpoints of others
However, these objectives are unique to each situation and change depending on the client’s demands and the therapist’s strategy.
What treatment approaches may be used?
To treat NPD, a variety of psychotherapy modalities may be used.
The most typical approaches include:
– Behavioural-cognitive therapy
– therapy that focuses on schema
– interpersonal psychotherapy using metacognition
– Dialectical behavioural therapy
Whether someone you love would like to explore treatment or you would like to learn coping strategies to manage relationships with BPD individuals, Positive Mind Works can help. Our team have the experience needed to provide guidance and support for those dealing with NPD.
To learn more about booking an appointment or which psychologist would be a good match for your needs, please call our team on 1800 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ). Alternatively, book online here.
Look out for part 3 in our series: ‘Tips for Dealing with a Narcissistic Person’