What Is Narcissistic personality disorder?
A mental disorder characterised by the qualities which cause people to have an overblown sense of their own importance, lack of empathy for others and a deep requirement of admiration is known as narcissistic personality disorder. However, the extreme confidence displayed by the person is only a façade and the person often suffers from an extremely fragile self-image that is susceptible even to the slightest criticism.
The term “Narcissistic personality disorder” originated from the character in Greek mythology known as Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection that he saw in a pool of water. Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition usually associated with dramatic personality disorders and people afflicted with this disorder suffer from intense and unstable emotions and a warped self-image.
People suffering from narcissistic personality disorder are usually described as being manipulative, self-centred, arrogant and demanding and are often convinced that they are superior to others and so merit special treatment. The characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder typically appear during early adulthood and are usually evident in their relationships with family members and friends, at school, at work, etc.
People suffering from narcissistic personality disorder usually do not tolerate criticism or defeat very well and feel empty or humiliated when they face criticism or rejection. If left untreated, narcissistic personality disorder can result in:
- Problems at school or work.
- Difficulties in relationships.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Suicidal behaviour or thoughts.
Around 50-75% who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are usually male and many characteristics of the disorder are commonly displayed by adolescents too. However, this is not an indication of them developing narcissistic personality disorder in the future and disappear with time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Narcissistic personality disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder is usually characterised by the following symptoms, where the person is:
- Extremely sensitive.
- Can get hurt very easily.
- Exaggerates his/her own importance, achievements and talents.
- Preoccupied with fantasies related to beauty, power, success, intelligence or the “perfect” romance.
- Needs constant admiration and attention from others.
- Believes that he/she is special and can be understood only by others who are special.
- Lacks empathy and disrespects other’s feelings.
- Expects favourable treatment to the extent of being unreasonable.
- Takes advantage of others to attain goals.
- Displays arrogant attitude and behaviour.
- Envious of others and believes that others are jealous of him/her.
- Finds it difficult to maintain healthy relationships.
- Usually obsessed with himself/herself.
- Usually respond to any kind of criticism with shame, anger and humiliation.
What Are The Causes Of Narcissistic personality disorder?
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is not really known and the cause is probably quite complex. However, it is believed that narcissistic personality disorder may be linked to:
- Over-sensitive temperament at birth.
- Extreme admiration not offset by realistic feedback.
- Genetics or psychobiology (i.e. the connection between the brain, thinking and behaviour).
- Mis-match between parent-child relationship accompanied by excessive criticism or excessive pampering.
- Learning manipulative behaviour from parents or peers.
- Maybe inherited.
- Praised excessively for supposed abilities or good looks by adults.
- Emotional abuse in childhood.
- Unreliable or unpredictable caregiving from parents.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Narcissistic personality disorder?
- Learn about narcissistic personality disorder, so that you are able to understand the symptoms, risk and treatment better.
- Attend all the therapy sessions recommended without fail. You may experience setbacks occasionally, but don’t give up.
- The best thing is to ignore a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Narcissistic personality disorder?
- If you are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder don’t get stressed, anxious or depressed as these can lead to setbacks in any progress you may be making on your treatment for the disorder.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs as this can lead to dependence and addiction and in turn worsen the condition of narcissistic personality disorder.
- Don’t take a person suffering from the narcissistic personality disorder at face value, as they are always trying to hide behind a façade.
- Don’t ignore the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and seek medical help immediately.
- Don’t try to find a cure, all by yourself, as personality disorders like narcissistic personality disorder should be handled by a qualified mental health professional.
- Avoid any conflict with a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Avoid trying to reason or arguing with them. Keep all communications simple and basic.
- Avoid any close contact and keep your distance from any friends or relatives who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Try and stay positive and calm and avoid talking about other people in a negative manner when you are a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
What Are The Best Foods For Narcissistic personality disorder?
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods like plenty of vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage and fruits like blackberries, cherries, raspberries, etc., plant-based proteins like nuts, beans, etc. whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat, etc., fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, etc. and spices and fresh herbs like garlic and turmeric, to reduce the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder like anxiety, depression, etc.
- Eat lean protein like chicken, fish, turkey, beans and eggs as they help to keep the serotonin levels balanced and prevent symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Eat complex carbohydrates oats, bulgur, whole wheat, wild rice, barley, etc., as they allow the entry of tryptophan into the brain and prevent the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.
- Eating fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, tempeh, etc. are shown to reduce anxiety and hormones that cause stress.
What Are The Worst Foods For Narcissistic personality disorder?
- Avoid all foods that cause inflammation and worsen the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
- Avoid greasy and oily foods that are laden with hydrogenated fats like fries, chips, burgers and sweets like candy, cakes, pastries, soda, sweet beverages and energy drinks, etc.
- Avoid refined starches and simple carbohydrates like white rice, white potatoes, white bread and pasta as they create a low mood and have the same effects on the brain as drug abuse, which can worsen the condition of narcissistic personality disorder.
- Avoid red meat and highly processed foods like hot dogs, sausages, etc.
What Are The Medicines For Narcissistic personality disorder?
What Are The Tips To Manage Narcissistic personality disorder?
- If you are suffering from drug or alcohol addictions or suffer from other mental issues like anxiety, depression, stress, etc. get treatment for these, as they can lead to an unhealthy and vicious cycle of emotional pain, negativity and unhealthy behaviour.
- Recovering from the narcissistic personality disorder can take time and effort. So, stay focussed on your objective of getting better and keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself that by getting better, your relationships will also get repaired and you will be a happier person.
- You can manage your stress by following stress-reduction techniques like yoga, tai chi or meditation as they can help you manage the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
- You can go in for psychotherapy (or talk therapy) sessions which may involve family therapy, group therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT techniques), which help you build self-esteem and identify negative behaviours and beliefs and exchange them with positive ones.