A group of mental disorders characterized by inflexible and maladaptive personality traits are known as personality disorders. The traits of these disorders cause distress, impair a person’s ability to function, and are a source of subjective stress (Abel et al., 2001). They are, in general, difficult to both diagnose and treat. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) group personality disorders into three clusters based on descriptive similarities. Cluster A includes the Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal Personality Disorders. People with these disorders often appear odd or eccentric. Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders are in Cluster B. People with these disorders often appear dramatic, emotional, or erratic. Cluster C includes the Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders. Individuals with these disorders often appear anxious or fearful (DSM-IV, 2000). Of all the Personality Disorders, it has been said that the most intolerable one is the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is an intricate and often misunderstood disorder. The grandiose sense of self-importance is the main feature, but illogically underneath this superciliousness, the narcissist suffers from a persistently inadequate, low self-esteem. However, we are inclined to dehumanize narcissists because this haughtiness is so problematic.
Narcissism is named after the Greek mythological hero Narcissus, a handsome man who, though loved by everyone, refused to love anyone in return (Millon & Davis, 2000). He snubbed the love of both youths and girls. A nymph, Echo, loved him, but she could never get his attention. He was riveted to the water's edge, mesmerized by the beautiful boy he thought he glimpsed within, and she ultimately pined away longing for him, until nothing was left of Echo but her sad, pleading voice. Narcissus thought the image in the water was real and pined away with desire, eventually transforming into the flower that bears his name. He gazed into a pool of water and ironically fell in love with and became obsessed with his own reflection. Narcissus thought the image in the water was real and pined away with desire, eventually transforming into the flower that bears his name (Millon & Davis, 2000). Like Narcissus, the narcissist seems to be unaware of the intensity of his or her own self-love and how it affects the lives of others. Regardless, it is the primary sense of insufficiency that is the actual problem of the narcissist—the grandiosity is just a front used to mask profound feelings of inadequacy.
The DSM-IV (2000) lists nine features of diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It must begin by early adulthood and present, in a range of conditions, as specified by five or more of the following: 1.
Grandiose sense of self-importance;
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; 3.
Believes he is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should be associated with, other special or high status people (or institutions); 4.
Requires excessive admiration;
Has a sense of entitlement—unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or of automatic compliance with his expectations; 6.
Is interpersonally exploitive—takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends; 7.
Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; 8.
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him; 9.
Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
The process of distinguishing between two or more disorders with similar or overlapping signs and symptoms is called differential diagnosis. In order to do this, the differences in the characteristic features of disorders must be found. The differential diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder includes other...
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