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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Characterological depression in patients with narcissistic personality disorder

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  • Jane Fjermestad-Noll
  • Elsa Ronningstam
  • Bo Bach
  • Bent Rosenbaum
  • Erik Simonsen
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Background: Depressive symptoms often occur in patients with personality disorders. Along the lines of the precious concepts of reactive and melancholic forms of depression, two different patterns of depressive symptoms can be identified. Reactive forms of depression is considered to be related to dysfunction of emotional regulation and social functioning, and to personality disorders. This study aimed at exploring the pattern of depressive symptoms in patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) compared to a group of depressed patients without Personality Disorder (PD). The Newcastle Diagnostic Depression Scale (NDDS) is a clinical instrument designed to differentiate reactive depression from melancholic depression. Method: The study investigated patterns of depressive symptoms in 117 out-patients, divided into two groups. One group containing 56 patients with depressive symptoms by no PD and the other group comprised of 61 patients with depressive symptoms and NPD. The participants were interviewed using the Newcastle Diagnostic Depression Scale. Results: There was a significant difference between the groups, as the NPD group suffered from reactive forms of depression. The NPD group showed a pattern of depressive symptoms characterized by fluctuation of the depressive state, without time demarcation of depressive episode, ruminations preoccupied with hostility and accusatory feelings towards other, but not self-accusatory feelings, fluctuation suicidal ideation triggered by external events accompanied by parasuicidal behavior, lack of neuro-vegetative symptoms such as insomnia with early wakening, loss of appetite and weight loss. The No PD group showed the opposite pattern. Conclusion: Based on these results NDDS is considered to be an applicable instrument for identifying personality pathology in patients with depressive symptoms, by recognizing the specific pattern. This is thought to be important for adequate treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Volume73
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)539-545
Number of pages7
ISSN0803-9488
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Denmark/epidemiology, Depression/diagnosis, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Health Services/trends, Middle Aged, Personality Disorders/diagnosis, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales

ID: 59361084