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How many articles and books are devoted to how to recognize the narcissist and protect oneself from it. But, perhaps, we take as a narcissistic features of a serious disease?

In recent years, the media write a lot about mothers, spouses and partners with narcissistic features. “But what if“ signs of narcissism ”are actually symptoms of a completely different mental disorder? – The family psychotherapist Gerald Manny, a specialist in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction asks a question. – How will this affect the patient himself and his loved ones? And can we learn more about what relatives of people are experiencing whose disorders cause the majority of condemnation and misunderstanding?”

One of the definitions of a narcissistic personality disorder is as follows: “overstated conceit (in fantasies or behavior), the need for admiration, inability to empathy, which manifested from youth in various situations”. To make a diagnosis, it is required that a person has at least five of the following symptoms:

  1. It has an overstated sense of self -importance;
  2. Concerned about fantasies about boundless success, power, genius, beauty, perfect love;
  3. He considers himself “special” or unique, I am sure that only other “special” or “important” people can understand it and it is worth talking only with them;
  4. Requires constant admiration from others;
  5. He believes that he has the right to everything;
  6. Realizes its own needs to the detriment of others;
  7. Deprived of empathy, is not able to sympathize with others;
  8. Often envies others or is sure that they envy him;
  9. Refers to others arrogantly and arrogant.

But inappropriately overstated conceit can sometimes manifest themselves in people suffering from bipolar disorder or alcoholism. Patients of alcohol or drug addiction are also often not able to show empathy and manipulate others in their interests.

Due to the common negative stereotypes about the psyche disorders, many patients do not learn about their diagnosis for many years

Suffering from post -traumatic stress disorder (PTSR) or bipolar disorder also often show hostility in relation to loved ones. If a patient with alcoholism, PTSD or bipolar disorder does not receive adequate treatment, problems with interpersonal communication may begin to appear more and more often.

Due to the common negative stereotypes about the mental disorders, many patients do not learn about their diagnosis for many years and do not receive proper treatment, and their loved ones are deprived of their supporting support.

Chronic disease of one of relatives often causes discord and tension in the family. Moreover: if the disease seriously affects the patient’s behavior or for a long time he does not manage to make a diagnosis, constant stress may begin to affect their health too.

Constant tension depletes resources (emotional, physical, financial) both the patient himself and his family. Often there is a strong feeling of guilt, fatigue, bitterness, problems with concentration of attention.

“Once we selected adolescents for a new program for the treatment of drug addiction in a hospital,” recalls Gerald Manny. – Communication with their parents did not work out at all. I realized that I myself am not responsive and sensitive to their needs during conversations by phone and consultations “.

To exchange experience, Dr. Manny decided to visit the famous diabetes treatment center for them. Jocelin in Boston. He was interested in how the specialists of the Center work with parents whose children are treated in a hospital. “It was there that I first learned about the problem of family stress”.

In the process of communicating with the employees of the center, it turned out that the parents of children with diabetes told the doctors the same thing that he himself had to hear from the parents and spouses of their patients at the center of treatment of alcohol and drug dependence.

“When we abandoned prejudices

and stereotypes and began to look for an individual approach to each of the parents, taking care, first of all, about the needs and needs of patients, all the problems that we previously considered the manifestation of“ resistance ”quickly disappeared. We were able to more effectively help parents fight stress and severe experiences, explaining to them what is actually happening with their children and how this affects themselves, ”explains Manny.

When we approach mental disorders precisely as diseases, the treatment results are much better

In one of the recent studies, scientists interviewed 133 people whose relatives suffered from various diseases (137 physical and 7 mental disorders). 92% of respondents said that a disease of a loved one affects them emotionally. 35% of them were mostly concerned, 27% – frustration, 15% – anger, and 14% – guilt.

91% of respondents noted that a relative’s disease negatively affects their everyday life, 69%-that constant stress and tension affected the family relations, and 67% due to anxiety about the health of a loved one had problems with sleep.

This study was the first of its kind to prove that, regardless of a specific disease, relatives of patients usually face approximately the same difficulties.

“When my clients say that they are worried about their relatives and friends suffering from a serious illness, I honestly answer that I don’t know the guaranteed way to alleviate their position,” the psychotherapist admits. – I assure that their difficulties and experiences are absolutely real and they do not exaggerate anything. It’s really hard. But you can help yourself, focusing on what depends on you, rethinking your reactions to what is happening and seeking help and support if necessary ”.

Manny also always reminds customers that mental illness is really illness. He says this not only to cheer up and support. “When we approach mental disorders precisely as diseases, the results of treatment are much better and the relatives of patients experience much less stress,” he explains.

Invaluable help can be provided by special support groups for relatives of patients with mental disorders, alcohol or drug addiction: there you can tell about their problems, get support and sympathy and learn how to combat stress, which inevitably arises with a disease of a loved one.

Of course, if our close relative suffers from a severe mental disorder, this inevitably brings us suffering and considerable stress. But this is not the only difficulty that we have to face. “An experienced psychotherapist will help you understand your experiences, exclude possible alarming or depressive disorders or the consequences of psychological injuries that can further aggravate your suffering associated with the disease of your own person,” Mennie explains.

It is very important to approach the treatment of mental disorders in the same way as the treatment of any other disease, without condemning and not shame. This will provide invaluable help to both the patient himself and his family.

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