TEEN Narcissistic Personality Disorder TREATMENT
While we’ve all met teens who have gone through self-centered and ego-driven phases of life, teens with Narcissistic Personality Disorder generally spend their lives consumed with themselves. They think of nothing other than their own goals, wellbeing, and needs, and may have a tough time thinking about or recognizing that others have desires and basic needs, too.
Narcissistic teens feel as though they are superior to others and as though their needs are more important than the people around them. This incredible sense of self-obsession leads to extreme difficulty with social interaction and causes strain in any relationships they maintain.
What Does Narcissistic Personality Disorder Look Like?
- A disillusioned sense of self importance, which may include acting as though no one else’s needs are important.
- An inability to treat others with compassion or empathy, including only being willing to talk about themselves.
- Loneliness, often as a result of alienated relationships. This phenomena is strengthened by strong insecurities and a deep lack of confidence.
Signs of Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Frequent bragging and attention hogging
Extreme feelings of self-importance
Extreme jealousy of friends and family
Interrupting and controlling conversations
Lack of compassion or empathy for others
Inability to set realistic expectations or goals
Easily angered and stubborn
Types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Unprincipled Narcissist - This form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder leads teens to become unsocial and go through life without fearing consequences or guilt for their actions. They are more likely to lie, steal, or cheat.
Amorous Narcissist - Teens in this category tend to ignore the personal boundaries of others, make unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances, and behave in a generally inappropriate manner.
Compensatory Narcissist - These teens tend to fear being inadequate and compensate for those feelings by acting passive-aggressive in their interactions with others.
Elitist Narcissist - Teens with this form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder believe they are superior to those around them. They think highly of themselves, care little for others, and spend a great deal of time bragging.
Fanatic Narcissist - Those with this form of the disorder have generally been impacted by some sort of traumatic event. They spend their time imagining someday getting some sort of revenge or justice and thinking about their plans and goals for making those things happen.
Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
There are quite a number of factors that cause Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It can be genetic, but environmental influences also play a role. Some of the causes include:
Family history - Teens who are exposed to personality disorders, either genetically or at home with a loved one, trend towards developing personality disorders at a much higher rate .
Poor parenting - Inattentive parenting, ineffective techniques, unrealistic doting or adoration, and regular, unnecessary criticisms can lead to the build-up of harmful thought patterns. These include negative preconceptions and insecurities that can develop into a narcissistic personality.
Neurological issues - physical illnesses that spread to or impact the brain can cause extreme personality and mood changes. These include, but aren’t limited to infections, hormone issues, and tumors.
Emotional abuse - teens who are bullied in school or in the home look for ways to deal with their emotional injuries and mounting insecurities. This may manifest with narcissistic behaviors.
US citizens struggle with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder lack empathy
of Narcissistic Personality Disorders are genetic
How Can I Help with Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Differentiate between narcissism and other “dark” personalities - teens with Narcissistic Personality Disorders shouldn’t be labeled as psychopathic or as merely anti-social. While there can be some similarities, the reasons and causes for these disorders are very different. It is important to best seek a professional diagnosis to better understand your teen’s needs.
Speak to your teen frankly about their thoughts and feelings - it may be difficult to remain non-judgmental when your teen is acting self-important. It’s also very easy to respond with unrealistic criticisms or even praise – things that should also be avoided. Listen to what your teen says to you, watching for problematic or self-destructive behaviors. Suggest professional help.
Talk about the benefits of treatment for an easier life - professional treatment should be a top priority for anyone exhibiting the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Their self-centered attitudes will make it more difficult for them to develop relationships, move through life with a good reputation, get through school, or even get a job in the future. Your teen needs to understand that it it is important to develop a better sense of compassion and empathy towards others. This is possible with therapy.
What Types of Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment are Available?
Teens with Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to focus on their own egos, constantly self-soothing to prevent mental and emotional pain. While their insecurities are at the forefront, many also struggle with extreme paranoias, fears, and suicidal thoughts. Treatments are individualized and include a combination of both psychotherapy and medication.
Medications are commonly used to help teens cope with their feelings of anxiety and depression, leaving them more receptive to discussing their narcissistic tendencies in therapy. Narcissism does not mean a person does not struggle with other coexisting conditions and does not mean a teen is exempt from feelings of suicide or a desire for self-harm. Evidence suggests there is no reason to believe a narcissistic teen less serious about a suicide threat than anyone else.
From a medication perspective, anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs may help teens exist in a more comfortable mental place as they work through therapy. These are typically temporary approaches designed to reduce suffering and facilitate healing.
The primary treatment protocol for teens with NPD is talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy. It is important to figure out the underlying cause of a person’s narcissistic personality. Doing so will give them the tools they need to work towards better mental health while building normal relationships and healthier interactions with the people in their lives.
Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco
While teens with Narcissistic Personality Disorder seem confident, the root of this disabling disorder is based in extreme fear, a lack of confidence, insecurities, depression, and even sensations of shame. At Paradigm San Francisco, we help teens better understand their own pain so that they can begin to move away from it and maladaptive behaviors.
Once a teen has identified and addressed the cause of their pain, they can begin to develop healthier habits, implement new thought processes, and learn to interact with other people. They also start to learn about creating appropriate relationships that are healthy and free of narcissism.
Our therapists are trained to guide teens towards a stronger sense of empathy towards others, teaching them to be better aware of the goals, needs, and desires of the people around them. We do this by teaching teens the difference between self-love, self-respect, and self-importance.
The medications used during treatment give teens relief from depression and anxiety. These symptoms aren’t necessarily tied to the disorder, but exist separately at the same time. The drugs used aren’t considered a cure for a narcissistic personality. They simply enable the patient to better battle guilt and self-worth issues so that they are more receptive to treatment.
Our 16 year old son was transformed at Paradigm Malibu. Everything was perfect - from the house to the staff to the food. Providing care and therapy for teens is a massive responsibility and we were not about to take a chance with our son without completely vetting the business. Paradigm stood up to our scrutiny and ticked every box for us. The treatment our son received was exemplary and the results have been life changing for him and for our family as a whole. Thank you Paradigm - Thank you Cole and Jeff. Thank you GOD for this place!
– Mark L.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Isn’t talk therapy a contraindication for those who are already self-obsessed?
Not really. Most people are surprised to learn that teens with narcissistic personalities actually have very low self-image and self-esteem. They are insecure, and have severe self-confidence issues. Talk therapy encourages them to open up to a therapist about the underlying thought patterns that are causing their narcissistic behaviors. Owning up to these feelings is an important step in the treatment process.
Can a narcissist truly ever care about other people?
Yes, they certainly can. The true scientific question, however, is whether or not a narcissist can learn both emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. Consciously understanding that other people have needs that are as important as your own is cognitive empathy.
Subconsciously developing a sense of feeling is related to emotional empathy. This is often more difficult for those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder to develop, especially if they were victims of some sort of emotional trauma. If the narcissism has developed due to genetics or psychopathy, they will likely never be “taught” emotional empathy. That said, grasping cognitive empathy will still enable them to lead better, healthier lives.