By Jonathan Ilunga
Sonoma State University
This paper will aim to define narcissistic personality disorder as a whole. The document will cover the topics of symptoms, prevalence, and contributing factor. In addition to covering the general description of the disorder the paper will present a case study to provide a clearer image of the parameters of NPD. 2 scientific studies will be presented in order to offer empirical data regarding NPD and to add knowledge recently acquired through experimentation.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Research Pa
In Greek mythology Narcissus was a handsome young hunter who was so captivated by his own reflection in a pool of water that he wasted away and died locking eyes with his own image. This story though dated way before the times of modern psychology metaphorically defines the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. NPD is a personality disorder characterized by a deep obsession with adequacy and egocentricity. (Milton p.393) The disorder was first coined by Heinz Kohut in his book The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Analysis of the Treatment of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.(James) People with NPD often have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, cannot accept criticism constructively, and have a strong sense of entitlement. According to the DSM, the disorder manifests itself in a variety of symptoms which if not treated can have cataclysmic effects on quality of life, these include: propensity to take advantage of others to goals, exaggeration of own importance, achievements, and talents, fantasies of unrealistic success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance, constant attention-seeking behavior, extremely prone to jealousy, a lack of empathy and disregard for feelings of others, and the pursuit of selfish goals. People with NPD often also have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, cannot accept criticism constructively, and have a strong sense of entitlement which can be very detrimental to establishing relationships. These symptoms are coupled with a psychological defense mechanism known as splitting. (Kernberg, 1970) Splitting is a cognitive distortion in which the mind constantly seeks to divide everything into absolutes of negative and positive. People with NPD use this mechanism in order to protect their fragile egos by exalting themselves and devaluating others and their emotions. This is another reason why people with NPD have a hard time being maintain relationships; this sense of “all or nothing” can be highly unpredictable leading to mood swings and erratic emotional communication.
Though the symptoms are well established, the actual cause of NPD is still unknown however, research done by Groopman and Cooper (2007) narrows down the environmental possibilities of causation. These range from a highly caustic home life and overindulgence as a child to emotional abuse and excessive praise for good looks. These factors, coupled with an approximate 50% genetic predisposition (Bushman, Campell, Paulhus, Robins 2010) are the closest thing to a contributing factor for NPD. NPD is relatively uncommon; prevalence is divided between the general population and psychiatric outpatients. Approximately 2% to 15% of the clinical population is afflicted with NPD with less than 1% of the general population being afflicted. Within both these percentages 50 to 75% afflicted are men.(DSM) According to recent studies by Twenge and Campbell(Living in the Age of Entitlement, 2009) the percentage has doubled in the past 10 years and now 1 in 16 of the population has experienced NPD. Due to all the cognitive complications that come with NPD treatment can be very challenging. People with NPD are not aware that they are suffering since the symptoms of disorder entail a large ego.(Golomb, Trapped in the Mirror, p.23) Different styles of therapy have been shown to have positive results....