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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a long-term, mental health condition. NPD causes you to think that you are more important than other people. You need to be the center of attention and to be admired by others. You want to control the people and events in your life. It is hard for you to stop your behaviors, even when you hurt others. You have trouble asking for help and trusting other people. These thoughts and behaviors cause problems with your relationships and daily activities.

What causes NPD?

The exact cause of NPD is not known. NPD commonly occurs in early adulthood. NPD may develop if you did not have a secure relationship with your parents, or if that security was disrupted. Without secure attachment, you may not have learned how to respond appropriately to events and emotions.

What are the symptoms of NPD?

  • Feeling of uniqueness and superiority
  • Extremely high sense of self-importance and a desire for high status
  • Preoccupation with beauty, power, or success
  • Requiring extreme admiration and envy
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Lack of caring for others
  • Arrogance or egotistical behavior

What other behaviors might I have with NPD?

  • Mood or anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

How is NPD diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your history. Your provider will also ask if you have ever wanted to hurt yourself or others. Tell your provider if you have people in your life who support you. Your provider will ask about your behaviors, feelings, and relationships with others.

How is NPD treated?

Medicines can help decrease anxiety or depression and make you feel more stable.

How can I manage my symptoms?

You may need any of the following types of therapy:

  • Psychodynamic therapy helps increase your ability to see yourself clearly. It also helps you understand your emotions and how you interact with others.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) helps you understand why you are narcissistic. Your therapist will help you learn how to cope with your disorder.
  • Family therapy helps you and your family communicate and teaches your family how they can best support you.
  • Group therapy helps you improve your attitudes and behaviors in a group of people with similar problems.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You are depressed.
  • You begin to drink alcohol, or you drink more than usual.
  • You take illegal drugs.
  • You take medicines that are not prescribed to you.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have severe depression.
  • You want to hurt yourself or others.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.