Narcissistic personality disorder is one of a group of personality disorders that can cause negative consequences in your life. People with this disorder have an inflated sense of self-importance and lack empathy. They are often consumed by fantasies of success, and believe that their talents make them better than other people.  

Narcissistic personality disorder is more common in men than women, and often becomes apparent in adolescence. Approximately 6% of the U.S. population is living with this condition. Narcissistic personality disorder can affect your thoughts, behaviors, and relationships throughout your life, but it can be treated.


If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not realize that anything is wrong. It can be hard to convince someone with this disorder that they need treatment. People with narcissistic personality disorder may actually 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 hallmark signs of narcissistic personality disorder include: 

  • An inflated sense of self-importance or self-esteem
  • A lack of sympathy or empathy for others
  • An obsessive focus on yourself, including your looks, your image, and your social standing
  • 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
  • A total self-interest and focus on the pursuit of primarily selfish goals
  • Becoming enraged when you don’t receive special treatment or are not treated like you are a VIP
  • Monopolizing conversations
  • Insisting on having the “best” of everything, whether or not that is feasible
  • Being envious of others and confident that others envy you


Personality disorders like narcissistic personality disorder are caused by a variety of factors. No single thing indicates that you are more likely to develop narcissistic personality disorder than another person, but some risk factors that can increase your 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
  • Overprotective, overindulgent, or “helicopter” parenting
  • Having an unusual gift or talent, and associating your self-worth with it
  • Brain traumas, including strokes or neurological damage
  • Traumatic early life experiences, including hyper-focused or overly critical parenting


Narcissistic personality disorder is a rare personality disorder, but it can be treated. With the right combination of medication, therapy, and support, you and your care team can design a plan that’s right for you. 

Medication: Medications to treat the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, including mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety drugs, can help you manage your condition. Talk to a doctor to learn more about medication.

Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and talk therapy can be helpful. Your therapist can help you find the right therapy. Find a therapist at Sheppard Pratt.

Education: Through learning more about your condition, you can learn to spot the signs that it may be time to ask your therapist for extra help. Our resources page can help you find ways to learn more about narcissistic personality disorder.

Support: Sheppard Pratt offers support groups for many conditions. Check our list of support groups to find a support group that can help you better deal with your narcissistic personality disorder or another disorder.