What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around talk therapy (psychotherapy) (1)


What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Cause of this disorder is unknown. Early life experiences, such as insensitive parenting, are thought to play a role in developing this disorder.

 What are the Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

A person with this disorder may:

  1. React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
  2. Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
  3. Have excessive feelings of self-importance
  4. Exaggerate achievements and talents
  5. Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
  6. Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  7. Need constant attention and admiration
  8. Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
  9. Have obsessive self-interest
  10. Pursue mainly selfish goals (2)

When to see a doctor?

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection.

People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections.

If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider.

Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.(3)

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