In a society where a person is judged by the achieved results, megalomania is a frequent and quite logical phenomenon. Every person starts to evaluate themselves and others early enough. However, some people often exaggerate their own worth. They boast of what they have done or are about to do or are proud of the purchase of new things, openly demonstrating them. Boasters are usually very unsympathetic people. If a person calls someone a braggart, then their feelings are almost always negative. In addition, boasting is often associated with dishonesty and often develops into megalomania. The fact is, it may seem that a person is just a boaster but in reality they are a megalomaniac.
Megalomania is a mental disorder characterized by an excessive painful increase in attention to one’s own person.
This disease is a delusional type of self-awareness and personality behavior expressed by an extreme degree of overestimation of one’s importance, fame, popularity, wealth, power, genius, political influence, and even omnipotence. “Megalomania” originates from the Greek “μεγαλο” – very large or exaggerated, and “μανία” – passion, insanity.
So, megalomania is a kind of mental disorder when one tends to overestimate their own abilities and possibilities.
A megalomaniac is a person afflicted with megalomania. A megalomaniac is someone with a psychological disorder with symptoms like delusions of grandeur and an obsession with power. The word “megalomaniac” is also more informally used for people who behave as if they’re convinced of their absolute power and greatness.
In psychiatry, this condition is considered not an independent disease but a symptom of another pathological condition associated with a violation of the psyche. Megalomania most often occurs together with a manic-depressive psychosis, an inferiority complex, and paranoid disorders.
Megalomania is characterized by a complete loss of perception of reality. However, megalomaniacs do not realize that their created opinion does not correspond to reality, and therefore they do not seek help.
It should be said that mostly men suffer from such a mental disorder as megalomania. Although, some women are also prone to this ailment. But the disease often takes the form of erotomania.
Stages of Megalomania
In general, doctors single out several stages of the development of megalomania. At the initial stage of the formation of the disorder, only its primary symptoms are manifested, which may be hardly noticeable to others. However, further progression of the disease leads to more vivid clinical manifestations, and in time they can lead to severe depression and even to the development of dementia.
Megalomania is classified according to the stage of progress of the disease:
Stage 1 – the presence of primary signs of the disease. Attempts of the patient to stand out and expose their personality as something that requires admiration;
Stage 2 – the apparent progress of the disease with all clinical symptoms;
Stage 3 – a serious condition of the megalomaniac (both physical and mental). Suicidal attempts or the development of dementia are possible.
In psychiatry, megalomania is referred to as a symptom of a mental disorder in a manic syndrome or classified as one of the manifestations of paranoia.
Megalomania in clinical practice most often refers to the symptomatology of a disorder such as manic-depressive psychosis or paranoid disorder. Quite often, this condition manifests itself in schizophrenia, various neuroses, and affective psychoses. Also, such a disorder can manifest as a complication of progressive paralysis or craniocerebral injury.
There are several risk factors of megalomania. The first of them is hereditary predisposition. If one of the parents suffers from such a disease, the likelihood that it will arise in their child always remains quite high. Secondly, the disorder occurs more often in people who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction as well as individuals who have had syphilis.
Predisposing factors that can cause megalomania are:
- genetic predisposition to mental disorders;
- psychoses, neuroses;
- childhood moral trauma;
- brain trauma;
- presence of syphilis in the anamnesis.
Also, it is worth mentioning that there is a risk of overgrowing of the usually overestimated self-esteem into megalomania. As a rule, this category includes people who have an unhealthy desire for perfection and leadership.
Symptoms a Megalomaniac May Have
The typical symptoms of megalomania are as follows:
- revaluation of a person’s own worth, of their mental and physical abilities;
- “Narcissism” (self-admiration);
- frequent changes of mood;
- increased activity, loquacity;
- lack of interest in someone else’s opinion;
- aggression towards other people;
- predisposition to insomnia;
- concentration only on one’s own ideas and thoughts.
If you find yourself experiencing similar symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. It is always easier to prevent the disease than to deal with the consequences.
Megalomaniac usually concentrates literally all their thoughts on their own exclusivity and importance for society. As a consequence, all the actions and conversations of the megalomaniac are aimed at informing others about their own uniqueness and genius. Such a disorder is characterized by a denial of the irrationality of patients because they are really sure that their judgments are the only truth, and all other people must enthusiastically agree with them.
However, not always the symptoms of megalomania are manifested vividly with concomitant delusional disorder and attempts by a megalomaniac to impose their point of view on others. As a rule, megalomania manifests itself as follows:
This condition is characteristic of bipolar disorder when episodes of mania alternate with the phases of depression. In the manic phase, the patient can be confident of their own exclusivity and also remain energetic and full of strength, almost without feeling tired;
A megalomaniac not only extols their own thoughts and ideas but also requires a similar attitude from others;
The violent activity of a megalomaniac can be sharply replaced by passivity. A joyful mood can turn into depression, etc. In most cases, a megalomaniac can’t control such mood swings. Megalomaniacs have a sharply negative attitude to any criticism. At best, they simply ignore any remarks in their address, at worst – respond by aggression;
Refusal to accept someone else’s opinion
Megalomania often manifests itself not just as non-acceptance of criticism but also as a negation of the other’s point of view in general. What’s more, people with a similar disorder tend to commit sometimes irrational and even dangerous deeds, completely not listening to the advice of other people;
Due to increased activity and constant nervous excitement, the symptoms of megalomania often include insomnia, superficial and anxious sleep;
In severe cases, there may be manifestations of depression, the emergence of thoughts about suicide, and even attempts to take one’s own life. What’s more, megalomaniacs often suffer from depletion, both mental and physical.
It is necessary to consider separately such an outcome of megalomania as serious depressive frustration with suicidal inclinations. There can be several causes of depression. If we are talking about a person with bipolar disorder, then mania is replaced by depression – this is the characteristic course of the disease. Also, severe depression may occur due to the loss of megalomaniacs’ grounds to consider themselves the best. As a rule, the moment of the collapse of the notions of one’s own exclusiveness is very difficult for patients. In the end, depressed mood can be the result of nervous and physical exhaustion of the body. In order for a depressive episode not to end badly, a mental disorder needs to be treated in time.
It is worth noting that megalomania is detected much more often in men than in women. At the same time, the disorder proceeds much more aggressively in men. Sometimes it can go to physical violence in an attempt to convey one’s ideas to others and convince them of rightness. In women, the disease proceeds more mildly and often takes the form of erotomania – the belief that a woman is an object of someone’s passionate and ardent love. Usually, an object of some famous, public person.
The diagnostics of megalomania is handled by a psychiatrist. To make out a diagnosis, the doctor needs:
- to study the anamnesis of the patient, to define the presence of other diseases;
- analyze the patient’s complaints (if there are any);
- conduct a conversation with relatives or friends of the megalomaniac. Such a conversation will be very informative for a more accurate description of the symptoms and the diagnosis.
There are also risk groups, such as:
- people with alcohol or drug addiction;
- people who have mental disorders in their medical history;
- people with previously diagnosed syphilis.
The essence of the treatment is to cure the underlying disease which has eventually led to the appearance of megalomania.
As a rule, megalomania itself is an incurable disease. The whole essence of therapy is reduced to minimizing manifestations of the disease.
Depending on the type of clinical manifestations of megalomania, the following treatment is performed:
- when depressed, the megalomaniac takes neuroleptics and lithium preparations;
- with strong excitement and euphoria, tranquilizers or sedatives can be taken;
- if necessary, treatment can be carried out in a special psycho-neurological clinic with a preliminary hospitalization of the patient;
- specific psychotherapy.
It’s not a secret that timely diagnostics and treatment of the disease plays a very important role. As a rule, megalomaniacs themselves are not able to understand the complexity of their illness. In this case, an initiative of relatives to conduct compulsory treatment is necessary.
Keep in mind that in no case can the disease be ignored, otherwise it may result in the patient’s inability to be a part of the society and perform basic communication skills with people. In severe cases, the megalomaniac may develop dementia and suicide attempts.
Prevention of Megalomania
There is no single correct method of preventing the onset of primary megalomania. At the same time, a major role is played by:
- Timely diagnosis and adequate treatment of other mental disorders;
- Consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist after the appearance of the first symptoms of a disease;
- The exclusion of mental trauma and stressful situations;
- With a previously diagnosed megalomania, it is important to undergo a regular examination to prevent the progress of the disease.