Dr. Ankur Saraiya talks about narcissistic personality disorder and its treatment.
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Narcissistic personality disorder it is one of the most interesting personality disorders because most of us feel like we know somebody who's a narcissist. And probably we do. Most of us are familiar with the idea of narcissism or narcissist. They basically are very self centered and this is the hallmark of the personality disorder, but it goes to an extreme that can lead to problems. They're so insistant on being considered the best or only associating with the best. They believe that they're entitled to special treatment and that other people and other people needs matter less. So, there was one study done in England where they evaluated executives from various companies and they evaluated inmates at the local prison and they found that the rate of narcissism was about equal between the two groups. And what this tells us is an important point about psychiatric systems and psychiatric traits in general is that they exist along a continuum and the presence of a particular trait by itself doesn't define whether or not something is going to be a disorder. People can use particular extremes or particular traits and make it work for them and actually be quite successful and often it's believed that for a certain executive a certain level of narcissism can actually be a good thing. Unfortunately, if often makes these people difficult to work with. And it's not a good thing for the people who are around them. So, in terms of treatment individuals with narcissistic personality disorder don't necessarily come into treatment for specifically the personality disorder, but if the traits of the disorder lead them to the same kind of conflicts in their careers or in their personal relationships they can develop depressive systems and will often present to treatment due to the depression or the anxiety that's caused by their narcissistic traits. And the best treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is psychotherapy and it usually is a long term treatment, but in general individuals who do stick with treatment can improve. And that is the main point. Unfortunately, many individuals with narcissistic personality disorder can't tolerate the treatment and usually drop out of treatment before they've had any significant improvement.
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