Things You Need To Know About Narcissist personality disorder

Things You Need To Know About Narcissist personality disorder
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 22-03-2023

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Narcissism or narcissist personality is a catchphrase used to describe a person who appears to be self-absorbed or in need of compliments. It is still uncommon to understand that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious concern and requires professional help to maintain mental health wellness. According to an article by Cleveland Clinic, although such people appear to be concerned about themselves, they in fact feel insecure most of the time. People experiencing NPD generally find it difficult to relate to others and thus display low self-worth. Around 5% of individuals experience NPD(Cleveland Clinic).

A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people exhibit an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others(Mayo Clinic, 2017). People with NPD have low self-esteem and the slightest criticism or disagreement can make them react badly as they perceive all of this to be a personal attack. Such people generally remain unhappy and disappointed if not given the special attention they need. NPD causes problems in many aspects of their lives including work, relationships, etc. People with narcissistic personality disorder showcase extreme resistance to changing their behavior. They usually tend to blame others as they may find it difficult to reflect on their weaknesses.

It has been found that NPD affects males more than it affects females. What exactly causes NPD is unknown but a combination of the following factors is believed to result in the disorder:

  • Childhood trauma(physical, sexual, and verbal abuse)
  • Early relationships with parents, friends, and relatives include excessive pampering or unrealistic expectations set by them.
  • Genetics might play a role in this.
  • Cultural influences

NPD usually appears during early adulthood starting around 18 years(Psycom, 2020). Healthcare providers diagnose NPD if at least five of the following symptoms are present:

  • An inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement: People having NPD believe that they are unique or special and that they are too good for anything ordinary or average.
  • Need for constant praise and admiration: Narcissists need a constant supply of praise and therefore usually surround themselves with people who can provide them with the same. They crave people who can cater to their obsessive craving for affirmation.
  • Expect special treatment due to their feeling of superiority: which basically means that they expect people around them to give them importance and admire them as they are “superior” to others. They like to be associated only with high-status people.
  • Lack of empathy: Such people tend to take advantage of others to achieve their own goals. They generally don’t have the ability to put themselves in others’ shoes or lack empathy. So, they don’t think twice before exploiting others for their own selfish goals. They don’t think about how their behavior might affect someone.
  • Frequent belittling others: People with NPD think very highly of themselves and tend to belittle. The probability of them doing so increases when they encounter someone who appears to have something that they lack. This threatens their ego and the only way out for them is to try and belittle the other person. They may go on attacking them with insults, bully them, or threaten them.
  • Arrogance: As such people think of themselves to be superior to others, it is very natural for them to be arrogant.


  • Treatment of NPD primarily consists of talk therapy or psychotherapy. Talk therapy can help one to understand their relations with others well and make it easier for such people to relate better to others. This makes their relationships more enjoyable and intimate. This positive development of relations can help them to be considerate of others’ feelings as well. Not only others but helps the person as well to understand their own feelings and themselves better and cope with any self-esteem issues that they have.
  • There are no medications to treat NPD as such. Appropriate medication can be provided if a person with NPD also showcases symptoms of depression or any other mental health condition.

People with NPD are very unlikely to go and seek treatment as they may not want to think that there might be something wrong with them. If at all they do go and seek treatment it might be for other problems like alcohol use or depression or something else. But to continue with the treatment is a task for them as anything that they might perceive as an insult can harm their “self-esteem” and make them want to quit. Moreover, personality traits cannot be changed overnight. It might just take several years of therapy before one sees the improvement. But one must stick to the treatment.

Some tips that might help go through your therapy can be:

  • Exercising: Try to remain healthy by exercising regularly, at least 3-5 times a week. This helps to boost your mood and keep you physically fit as well.
  • Relaxing techniques: Try and engage in relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation. All of this helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Avoid substance use: Try and avoid the consumption of alcohol or any other substance which might trigger negative behavioral traits.

Recovery from NPD takes time so try and stay motivated to achieve this goal of yours. Keep reminding yourself that you need to do this for yourself and your loved ones. You are in charge of your behavior and you can change it at any time.

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  1. Narcissistic personality disorder. (2017, November 18). Retrieved September 06, 2020, from
  2. Team, T. (2020, January 02). Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Retrieved September 06, 2020, from
  3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved September 06, 2020, from
  4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Traits, Tests, Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved September 06, 2020, from
  5. Caligor, E., Levy, K. N., & Yeomans, F. E. (2015). Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnostic and Clinical Challenges. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 415-422. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14060723

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