Celebrity psychologist Dr. Drew Pinsky wrote an entire book about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self. But how common IS this phenomenon? According to the American Psychological Association, only about one-percent of American adults suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is a mental condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration from others. Those with Narcissistic Personality disorder tend to take advantage of others to achieve their goals, and have a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and talents. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, and happiness, combined with an obsessive self-interest tend to characterize the person with this condition. As well, people with this disorder tend to disregard the feelings of others, demonstrating a serious lack of empathy. The former Playboy bunny, Anna Nicole Smith, is a perfect example of classic Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to Dr. Drew. Like Anna Nicole, people with this condition believe that they are special and unique, and should ONLY associate with similarly privileged individuals. Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder display a sense of entitlement for the best that life has to offer. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may take advantage of other others, and use them to achieve their own ostentatious goals. Despite all of this grandiose behavior, individuals with this condition tend to have very fragile self-esteems. For this reason, they have a need to be constantly admired and doted upon. It isnt fully understood what causes this set of personality traits, but its suspected that extremes in parenting may contribute. Many people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder experienced a lack of affection and support during childhood. They often report neglect, abuse, or an unpredictable home life. On the flipside, some people with the condition were very pampered as children and were always expected to outperform their peers. No matter its cause, people with this personality disorder do NOT usually see themselves as having a problem, which makes treatment difficult. If a person DOES seek help, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is the preferred method. Psychotherapy may help the affected person relate to others in a more positive and compassionate manner. For Narcissistic Personality Disorder, therapy focuses on learning to relate to others in a more positive, empathetic way. The prognosis, however, is dependent on the severity of the condition. Like Anna Nicole, people with this condition have a hard time developing healthy relationships with others. For this reason, its important to make an appointment with a mental health professional if you think you or a loved one is affected by Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012