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What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder & How to Spot It.

To understand what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is and how to spot it, we must first position the disorder within the larger context of  mental disorders. Although Narcissistic Personality Disorder and even the words “narcissistic” and “narcissism” have become widely sensationalized by mainstream media, it is essential to remember that there are critical criteria to meet the official diagnosis.

NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER QUICK FACTS

  1. Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often have difficulty maintaining relationships, given their need for admiration and disregard for others.

  2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is estimated to be prevalent between 1-6% of the population.

  3. Of those diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, 50-75% are male.

  4. Although traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can appear in adolescence, that does not necessarily mean a person would be diagnosed. Given that individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often struggle to adjust to the “aging process,” symptoms usually manifest and become clearer to identify as a person ages post-adolescence.

  5. Narcissistic Personality Disorder has diagnostic criteria similar to Histrionic, Antisocial, and Borderline Personality Disorders; however, the critical feature that separates Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the others is the grandiosity characteristic. In other words, someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will uniquely highlight their felt superiority over others. Additionally, individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often have a stable self-image (even if distorted) and lack self-destructive behaviors, which separate the disorder from borderline.

  6. Very little is known about the “cause” of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, however, some research suggests that biological and environmental factors play a role. Some everyday childhood experiences of narcissistic personalities include neglect, abandonment, and physical abuse (White, 2021).

  7. Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder rarely seek help given their generally low self-esteem and inflated ego

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