Any connection between narcissism and bipolar?

Bipolar disorder looks to me a lot like narcissism. Any connection?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    (The use of gender pronouns in this article reflects the clinical facts: most narcissists are men.)

    The manic phase of Bipolar I Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

    Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, spins unrealistic schemes, and has frequent rage attacks (is irritable) if her or his wishes and plans are (inevitably) frustrated.

    The manic phases of the bipolar disorder, however, are limited in time - NPD is not. Furthermore, the mania is followed by - usually protracted - depressive episodes. The narcissist is also frequently dysphoric. But whereas the bipolar sinks into deep self-deprecation, self-devaluation, unbounded pessimism, all-pervasive guilt and anhedonia - the narcissist, even when depressed, never forgoes his narcissism: his grandiosity, sense of entitlement, haughtiness, and lack of empathy.

    Narcissistic dysphorias are much shorter and reactive - they constitute a response to the Grandiosity Gap. In plain words, the narcissist is dejected when confronted with the abyss between his inflated self-image and grandiose fantasies - and the drab reality of his life: his failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating interpersonal relationships, and low status. Yet, one dose of Narcissistic Supply is enough to elevate the narcissists from the depth of misery to the heights of manic euphoria.

    Not so with the bipolar. The source of her or his mood swings is assumed to be brain biochemistry - not the availability of Narcissistic Supply. Whereas the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, even when maximally agitated, the bipolar often feels that s/he has lost control of his/her brain ("flight of ideas"), his/her speech, his/her attention span (distractibility), and his/her motor functions.

    The bipolar is prone to reckless behaviors and substance abuse only during the manic phase. The narcissist does drugs, drinks, gambles, shops on credit, indulges in unsafe sex or in other compulsive behaviors both when elated and when deflated.

    As a rule, the bipolar's manic phase interferes with his/her social and occupational functioning. Many narcissists, in contrast, reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.

    The manic phase of bipolar sometimes requires hospitalization and - more frequently than admitted - involves psychotic features. Narcissists are never hospitalized as the risk for self-harm is minute. Moreover, psychotic microepisodes in narcissism are decompensatory in nature and appear only under unendurable stress (e.g., in intensive therapy).

    The bipolar's mania provokes discomfort in both strangers and in the patient's nearest and dearest. His/her constant cheer and compulsive insistence on interpersonal, sexual, and occupational, or professional interactions engenders unease and repulsion. Her/his lability of mood - rapid shifts between uncontrollable rage and unnatural good spirits - is downright intimidating. The narcissist's gregariousness, by comparison, is calculated, "cold", controlled, and goal-orientated (the extraction of Narcissistic Supply). His cycles of mood and affect are far less pronounced and less rapid.

    The bipolar's swollen self-esteem, overstated self-confidence, obvious grandiosity, and delusional fantasies are akin to the narcissist's and are the source of the diagnostic confusion. Both types of patients purport to give advice, carry out an assignment, accomplish a mission, or embark on an enterprise for which they are uniquely unqualified and lack the talents, skills, knowledge, or experience required.

    But the bipolar's bombast is far more delusional than the narcissist's. Ideas of reference and magical thinking are common and, in this sense, the bipolar is closer to the schizotypal than to the narcissistic.

    There are other differentiating symptoms:

    Sleep disorders - notably acute insomnia - are common in the manic phase of bipolar and uncommon in narcissism. So is "manic speech" - pressured, uninterruptible, loud, rapid, dramatic (includes singing and humorous asides), sometimes incomprehensible, incoherent, chaotic, and lasts for hours. It reflects the bipolar's inner turmoil and his/her inability to control his/her racing and kaleidoscopic thoughts.

    As opposed to narcissists, bipolar in the manic phase are often distracted by the slightest stimuli, are unable to focus on relevant data, or to maintain the thread of conversation. They are "all over the place" - simultaneously initiating numerous business ventures, joining a myriad organization, writing umpteen letters, contacting hundreds of friends and perfect strangers, acting in a domineering, demanding, and intrusive manner, totally disregarding the needs and emotions of the unfortunate recipients of their unwanted attentions. They rarely follow up on their projects.

    The transformation is so marked that the bipolar is often described by his/her closest as "not himself/herself". Indeed, some bipolars relocate, change name and appearance, and lose contact with their "former life". Antisocial or even criminal behavior is not uncommon and aggression is marked, directed at both others (assault) and oneself (suicide). Some biploars describe an acuteness of the senses, akin to experiences recounted by drug users: smells, sounds, and sights are accentuated and attain an unearthly quality.

    As opposed to narcissists, bipolars regret their misdeeds following the manic phase and try to atone for their actions. They realize and accept that "something is wrong with them" and seek help. During the depressive phase they are ego-dystonic and their defenses are autoplastic (they blame themselves for their defeats, failures, and mishaps).

    Finally, pathological narcissism is already discernible in early adolescence. The full-fledged bipolar disorder - including a manic phase - rarely occurs before the age of 20. The narcissist is consistent in his pathology - not so the bipolar. The onset of the manic episode is fast and furious and results in a conspicuous metamorphosis of the patient.

    More about this topic here:

    Stormberg, D., Roningstam, E., Gunderson, J., & Tohen, M. (1998) Pathological Narcissism in Bipolar Disorder Patients. Journal of Personality Disorders, 12, 179-185

    Roningstam, E. (1996), Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Axis I Disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 3, 326-340

    Click on the links below to learn about the differences between these two disorders.

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  • 3 years ago

    Bipolar Narcissism

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    RE:

    Any connection between narcissism and bipolar?

    Bipolar disorder looks to me a lot like narcissism. Any connection?

    Source(s): connection narcissism bipolar: https://biturl.im/bO0Y1
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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know if psychologists say that there is a link, but I think there is. I was diagnosed as bipolar 10 years ago and throughout those years I have noticed more and more traits that seem to be narcissism. But, I have a very mild case of bipolar disorder.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Narcissism is a personality disorder that can actually be very harmful and detrimental to others in the individual's life. Narcissism begins to develop early on, as a result of poor uprbringing. It is essentially a disorder of the personality, and can be extremely challenging to treat. There are varying degrees of narcissism, though essentially it requires a very skilled therapist to break down the individual's personality and re-build it. (As a side note, the disorder is more complicated than obsession with one's self. I'd suggest researching it further...the DSM-IV would be a good place to start).

    Bi-polar disorder is different from narcissism because it is chemically based, and has little to do with aspects of the personality. Therapy can be helpful in treating bi-polar disorder, and can medication, if taken in conjunction with therapy.

    As far as I know, there's no connection between the two.

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  • 4 years ago

    It seems that if you ask someone if they are open to testing for bipolar or narcissism and therefor for treatment, a bipolar may be more agreeable to it. On the other hand, a narcissist will have nothing to do with it. So there is a good chance (not definite, however) that the person will thus confess by his or her actions if they are bipolar or narcissistic merely by submitting to tests. If the individual relents, he or she is more than likely bipolar. If they refuse testing then the individual is either a stubborn bipolar or narcissist.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't see where you got that idea from, there's no connection. Bipolar is a sort of attitude thing were a person is happy one minute then sad but narcissism is when a person is basically in love with themselves

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes. One of the symptoms of a manic phase is a sense of grandiosity and invincibility. In fact, on a lot of psychological tests, questions regarding narcissism are also applied to bipolar disorder.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    nar·cis·sism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (närs-szm) also nar·cism (-szm)

    n.

    Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See Synonyms at conceit.

    A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.

    Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.

    The attribute of the human psyche charactized by admiration of oneself but within normal limits

    Source(s): bi·po·lar ( P ) Pronunciation Key (b-plr) adj. Relating to or having two poles or charges. Relating to a device capable of using two polarizations, such as a transistor that uses positive and negative charge carriers. Relating to or involving both of the earth's polar regions. Having two opposite or contradictory ideas or natures: the bipolar world of the postwar period. Biology. Having two poles or opposite extremities: a bipolar neuron. Psychology. Relating to a major affective disorder that is characterized by episodes of mania and depression.
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  • 4 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm Bipolar but I'm not narcissist. It would be the total opposite, i'm insecure...

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