Lucas is a 28-year-old patient who comes to a consultation for a problem related to substance use. Since Lucas arrives at the consultation, he has been haughty and arrogant. He boasts of being a born conqueror, of being a man desired by everyone who knows him. He explains that everyone wants him, both sexually and socially because he is more attractive, intelligent and successful than anyone and therefore only a few equally successful to him, such as elite footballers or singers, understand him. Lucas shows contempt for the psychologist's questions and reacts aggressively when she asks him about a past personal failure. Lucas could have narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder in which people exhibit an extremely high sense of self-importance, as well as an excessive and constant need for admiration or attention, and a lack of empathy for the needs and feelings of others..
This disorder is suffered by 1% of the population and affects more men than women, causing severe problems in the subject's relationships with other people, as well as in his work, financial, love development and in many other areas of his life. daily.
The causes of narcissistic personality disorder, like those of other personality disorders, are not fully understood and are made up of a series of complex, interconnected factors: environmental, genetic, and biological factors..
Among the biological factors, it has been found that people with this disorder have a smaller volume of gray matter in the left anterior insula, an area of the brain highly associated with emotional regulation and empathy, as well as cognitive functioning.
There are several environmental factors that can influence the development of narcissistic personality disorder. For example, having lived with parents or guardians who present manipulative behavior, having been excessively praised and admired in an unrealistic way or child abuse or maltreatment can be triggers of this personality condition.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder should not be confused with high self-esteem or personal security. A person with high self-esteem is usually an empathic person with others and does not try to be narcissistic in front of others. Although it may seem that people with narcissistic personality disorder have high self-esteem, normally their behaviors hide a great insecurity and vulnerability that are reproduced in a very defensive behavior when they are questioned in front of others. Some of the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:
Treatment for this disorder is not very common in consultation, since people who suffer from it rarely feel that they have a problem for which they must get help. For a person who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, their behavior is adequate and adaptive and that is why, when they go to the consultation of a mental health professional, they usually do so for other parallel causes such as depression or addiction to certain substances such as alcohol or drugs.
The characteristics of this disorder make the improvement quite slow, since people tend to be very defensive and the symptoms constitute a behavioral pattern that is part of the personality in a very extended way over time. However, some therapies such as group or cognitive behavioral therapy can help affected people to change certain behavior patterns. For example, people in therapy can learn to improve and maintain their personal relationships with others, to accept criticism from others with greater tolerance, and to regulate their emotions more adaptively. If you or someone you know may be presenting with this disorder, do not hesitate to consult a psychological health professional.