Do you know anyone who fits the narcissistic profile? The key components to narcissism are an inflated self-esteem, little empathy, and a sense of entitlement. Sound familiar yet? The rate of narcissism is on the rise. The July/August issue of the Atlantic Monthly discussed a study by Jean M. Twenge which explored the rate of narcissism in college students and found that those born after 1982 had a higher rate of narcissism. In my practice, I deal with the psychological cost to relationships resulting from narcissism. But there is also a physical price to pay for increased narcissism. A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that narcissistic men have higher stress levels as measured by cortisol, a hormone that’s responsible for the body’s response to stress. This study affirms the negative impact on physical health from narcissism. So why are narcissistic men more stressed out? These men tend to be aggressive, driven, and highly defensive in response to any threats to their ego which creates elevated stress levels. Another factor is threats to male gender roles which can create stress. Many of the narcissistic patients I work with have a difficult time acknowledging wrongdoing, accepting responsibility, and being vulnerable in relationships. They are so self-absorbed that they have very little insight into their problems. Being married to a narcissist can be very challenging, frustrating and at times abusive. Find out next week effective ways to deal with a narcissist. If you recognize these traits in yourself then you’ll need to read next week’s blog to discover ways to modify these personality traits. Many forces shape our personalities as we move through life, but the most important force that can shape anyone’s personality is their own desire to change.