Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as a complex mental health condition characterized by patterns of grandiosity, and a strong need for admiration and validation. The nature of the symptoms that define NPD are somewhat “antisocial” in nature. Consequently, we see NPD as character traits that a person should just change because they are not good. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. So, understanding this disorder is important if we are to help those in our community with NPD

Symptoms

  • Grandiosity (sense of self-importance, exaggerated achievements and talents, and beliefs of superiority to others)
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, or love
  • Lack of empathy, disregard for others’ feelings, and an exploitative attitude
  • Fragile self-esteem, easily wounded by criticism, leading to anger or belittling others
  • Belief of being “special” and can only be understood by other “special” or “high ranking” people
  • High sense of entitlement, is very manipulative and arrogant
  • Believes others are jealous of them and want to be like them

Causes

  • Exact causes are not fully understood but may involve a combination of genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors.
  • Childhood experiences, such as excessive admiration or neglect, may contribute to the development of NPD.

Treatment

  • Psychotherapy & group therapy
  • Medication (antidepressants, anxiolytics, if depression or anxiety are diagnosed as well)
  • Lifestyle & behavioral changes

African Context

Generally, more men are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder , than women all over the world. Still, because most of the symptoms of NPD are seen as the “normal” male ego, many will go undiagnosed. In Africa many societies are patriarchal and place the male figure in very high esteem. As such, it is common to find men who may meet the criteria for this diagnosis in our societies. But, because we associate the symptoms of NPD to “manhood”, we normalize the associated behaviors. However, this is not the case with women, as these traits are considered unacceptable in “womanhood”. Diagnosing NPD in women is generally much easier to do. Regardless of all this, if you or anyone you know is or may be struggling with NPD disorder or any other mental health challenge, you can reach out to a professional here.

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