What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of a group of personality disorders. People with narcissistic personality disorder have a lack of empathy for others, a consistent need for recognition or admiration, and an inflated sense of self-importance. Narcissistic personality disorder can affect your thoughts, behaviors, and relationships throughout your life, but it can be treated.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not realize that anything is wrong or 'off.' It can be difficult to convince someone with this disorder that they need treatment; and, people with narcissistic personality disorder may be gifted in a particular area, or may be very successful. If you notice behaviors associated with narcissistic personality disorder in yourself or a loved one, ask a doctor to conduct a screening. Some of the hallmark signs of narcissistic personality disorder include: 

  • An inflated sense of self-importance or self-esteem
  • A lack of sympathy or empathy for others
  • Reacting to criticism with violence, rage, or extreme belligerence
  • Requiring excessive admiration and always being “the center of attention”
  • Grossly exaggerating your achievements, good qualities, talents, relationships, or assets
  • Engaging in lying, deceit, and manipulation to maintain a front of perfection
  • A preoccupation with fantasies of great achievement
  • Monopolizing conversations
  • Insisting on having the “best” of everything, whether or not that is feasible; showing other arrogant behaviors or attitudes
  • Being envious of others and confident that others envy you

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Causes and Risk Factors

No single risk factor indicates that you are more likely to develop narcissistic personality disorder than another person. Some of the risk factors that can increase one's chances of developing narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • Having another mental health disorder, including anxiety
  • A family history of narcissistic personality disorder or other personality disorders
  • Having received overprotective, overindulgent, hyper-critical, or “helicopter” parenting

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment

Narcissistic personality disorder is a rare personality disorder; some symptoms may be manageable with the right combination of medication, therapy, and support.

Medication: Medications to treat the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, including mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety drugs, can help you manage your condition. 

Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and talk therapy can be helpful. Your mental health provider can help you find the right therapy. Find the right care for you at Sheppard Pratt.

Education: Through learning more about mental health conditions, you can learn to spot the signs that it may be time to ask your therapist for extra help. Start learning by browsing our Knowledge Center.

Support: Sheppard Pratt offers support groups for many conditions. Check our list of support groups to find a support group that can help you.