Narcissism vs. Bipolar Disorder
Patients in the manic phase of bipolar disorder often exhibit many of
the signs and symptoms of
pathological narcissism. These symptoms include extreme control, hyperactivity,
self-centeredness and lack of empathy. For this reason, the manic phase
of Bipolar Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality
During the manic phase of Bipolar
Disorder the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, develops
unrealistic schemes, and is irritated and provoked to anger very easily.
The manic phases of bipolar disorder only last for a limited time however,
and are usually followed by depressive phases marked by pessimism, self-devaluation
and self-deprecation. The narcissist, even when depressed, never gives
up their narcissism. Their grandiosity, sense of entitlement, haughtiness,
and lack of empathy never go away.
Narcissists experience depression when confronted with the drab reality
of their life (their failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating
interpersonal relationships, and low status) as opposed to their high
opinions of themselves. They can easily escape these depressions and return
to manic euphoria with just one dose of Narcissistic Supply.
Bipolar patients can not escape their depression so easily however. Their
moods are subject to brain biochemistry. While narcissists are in full
control of their faculties, even when maximally agitated; bipolar patients
often feel loss of control of their brains, speech, attention spans and
The bipolar patient 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
while manic and depressive.
The bipolar patientís manic phase generally interferes with their social
and occupational functioning. Many narcissists, on the other hand, reach
the top of their community, work or churchís social or occupational ladder.
Narcissists can function flawlessly; inevitable blowups and the grating
extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end to their career and
Narcissistsí risk for self-harm is minute while bipolar patients are often
hospitalized during their manic phases. Bipolar patients regret their
misdeeds following the manic phase and try to atone for their actions,
while narcissists experience no guilt.
Both types of patients contend to give advice, carry out an assignment,
accomplish a mission, or embark on an endeavor for which they are uniquely
unqualified and lack the talents, skills, knowledge, or experience required.
The bipolar patientís pretentiousness 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 schizophrenic than to the
When treating patients
who display manic symptoms associated with NPD, doctors should closely
evaluate them in order to discern whether it could be bipolar