have been meaning for a while to start writing about personality disorders, but I felt I needed to get some background information written first. Now that you, my fine followers, my righteous readers, my savvy subscribers, are so well-versed in several developmental theories, we are ready!
The three I’m going to write about on IOI are Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Please remember that I write this blog to give my readers more information. If there’s a personality disorder you would like me to write about, PLEASE let me know either in the comments, or you are always welcome to email me at email@example.com, or on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/insightoutsidein.
Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders which are characterized by long-lasting, inflexible patterns of thought and behavior. It’s important to remember that many people will display one or more of these traits. It has to be a certain number to even begin to qualify as being that particular disorder. Also, to qualify as a personality disorder, the traits must cause significant impairment or distress in personal, social, and/or occupational settings. Personality disorders also do not usually manifest until a person is in their 20s, or even 30s. A person with a personality disorder will rarely seek treatment. Personality disorders are extremely difficult to treat because they are so ingrained in who the person is. Someone with a personality disorder usually does not see themselves as “disordered,” and will see other people as the problem. I had a wonderful professor in graduate school who used to say that as clinicians, most disorders, we will know from the neck up. Personality disorders, we will feel from the neck down. What he meant was that another disorder like Schizophrenia for example, a clinician will use their knowledge to diagnose the patient. They will either have delusions, or they won’t. They will either hallucinate, or they won’t. Patients with personality disorders present very differently. The clinician will potentially be emotionally affected by the patient. The clinician may doubt himself or herself, or feel personally attacked by the patient. A psychotic patient may cause a clinician to feel mentally tired, but a patient with a personality disorder will cause the clinician to feel emotionally tired!
So let’s jump right in and start with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
First, the DSM 5 criteria:
Five or more of the following:
“1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
6. Is interpersonally exploitive (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
I have heard NPD being discussed frequently in the past year or so. I’m sure this has some to do with the fact that I hang out on psychology forums, blogs, and websites. Yes, I am a nerd. Proud of it! But I digress. It's also being discussed more in mainstream media and wider social circles. One of my primary goals for IOI is for my readers to have accurate information about different diagnoses. This may be useful for you in your personal life, but also in your life as a member of society.
I am, of course, not in a position to diagnose anyone from a distance, so I am not going to attempt to assign the criteria to any particular person. But as different topics about mental health are discussed in the media, I use this forum to address them.
So there you have it. I want to hear from you! What questions do you have about personality disorders? Do you have experience with anyone with this diagnosis, or anyone you believe has it?
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.