I have written elsewhere on this site articles about how being brought up by a narcissistic parent can be extremely traumatic for a child and can have life-long adverse effects on his/her emotional and behavioural functioning in the absence of effective therapeutic intervention.
I will quickly recap the list of the main symptoms of the disorder below :
THE SYMPTOMS OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER :
– expect to be recognized as superior (even without any achievements to warrant this)
– exaggerated sense of own importance
– a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and talents
– belief of only being able to be understood by equally special people
– obsessed by fantasies of power/success/brilliance
– strong need to be constantly admired by others
– constant sense of entitlement
– expectation to be granted special favors
– expectations to always have wishes complied with by others
– exploitation of others for own ends
– unable or unwilling to acknowledge the needs of others / the feelings of others (lack of empathy)
– frequent envy of others
– frequent beliefs of being envied by others
– behaving in a high-handed, superior, arrogant and haughty manner
(Above list of symptoms adapted from the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, otherwise known as DSM -V).
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN THOSE SUFFERING FROM NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER?
A study conducted by Ropke et al examined 34 individuals, 17 of whom had an official diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder; these 17 individuals had also, through testing, been found to be deficient in feelings of empathy (a main symptom of narcissistic personality disorder – see list of symptoms above).
Using a brain scanning technique known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) it was found that the 17 individuals who had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder had differences in the structure of a region of the brain called the cerebral cortex compared to the individuals in the control group (i.e. the individuals in the study who had NOT been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder).
The Cerebral Cortex :
WHAT WERE THE SPECIFIC BRAIN DIFFERENCES FOUND BY THE STUDY?
Specifically, the MRI scan revealed that those who had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder had cerebral cortices (plural of cortex) that were thinner in the region responsible for producing feelings of compassion for others (known as the insular region) than the cerebral cortices of those in the control group.
This finding emphasizes the fact that those with narcissistic personality disorder require treatment rather than moral judgment.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).Click here for reuse options!
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