What is Narcissism? Why is it on the Rise?

Narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Disorder-NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a constant need to be admired, lack of empathy, excessive pride in achievements, and condescending or patronizing attitudes. It is in the B Cluster of personality disorders, which includes the most difficult disorders to treat.

A narcissist is self-centered. He/she establishes superficial and exploitative relationships. They often experience identity confusion, have difficulty with attachment, experience chronic feelings of emptiness and are sensitive to changes in life.

Narcissism has very variable clinical manifestations and a wide range of severity. For this reason, discussions about the boundaries and diagnostic criteria of this disorder are still ongoing in psychiatry. Since the diagnostic criteria are not clear, there is no definite and common opinion about the prevalence. There is perhaps only one judgment about this personality disorder that all experts agree on, and that is that narcissism is on the rise.


What causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

As with all illnesses, narcissistic personality disorder has multiple causes:

Genetics: In general, the contribution of heredity in personality disorders has been found to be over 60 percent, indicating that there is a significant genetic influence. Twin studies on NPD have concluded that heritability can range from 25 to 79 percent.

Biological: There are not many studies investigating the relationship between narcissistic personality disorder and biological factors. However, studies have found that the cause of the lack of empathy may depend on neural connections.

Psychosocial: Wrong parental behaviors are also very effective in the development of NPD. Overprotective and overvaluing parenting and overcritical and rejecting parenting can be factors in the development of NPD in later ages.


Why is Narcissistic Personality Disorder on the rise?

Many experts agree that industrialization and technology replacing face-to-face relationships in all areas of social life have led to an explosion in personality disorders. So how do these two phenomena explain the rise in NPD?

Material comfort: The economic prosperity that came with industrialization increased the number of people who were able to exist without needing anyone else. Living without seeing oneself in the mirror of other people has led to an increase in self-centered personality disorders.

Peer competition: The modern world is full of self-motivational messages such as „you are worthy” and „you should be self-confident”, but when taken to extremes, this distorts relationships with the social environment. In constant competition with peers at school and colleagues at work, people are forced to outdo others in order to achieve their goals. What we need instead is to build trusting relationships with their peers.

Social media: The busiest part of social media is the like and dislike buttons. Digital channels where individuals can share their lives around the world have led to a craze for being liked. Scientific studies have proven that the rate of Facebook use and the incidence of NPD are directly proportional.

What are the treatment methods for Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Since this disorder is characterized by excessive self-admiration, the patient will most likely not accept that he/she has a psychological problem and will not want to see a psychiatrist. Moreover, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is one of the most difficult psychiatric disorders to treat.

Methods that can be used for this disorder include supportive psychotherapy, structured psychotherapies, mentalization-based therapy, transference-focused psychotherapy, schema-focused psychotherapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. In cases where the patient has the potential to commit crime, medication is often part of the treatment.

The likelihood of success in the treatment of narcissism increases if treatment is started early. For this reason, it is very important to apply to health institutions and seek professional support in case of symptoms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *