Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Narcissistic Personality

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder characterized by a pattern of extreme self-involvement, lack of empathy, and inflated self-perception of importance, power, or status. People with NPD may have an extreme need for attention and admiration from others, be overly sensitive to criticism, and display arrogant and domineering behaviors.

Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The exact cause of NPD is uncertain, but genetic, environmental, and cultural factors are believed to play a role. Certain life events, such as abuse, neglect, or parental control can increase a person’s risk of developing NPD.

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Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The symptoms of NPD vary from person to person, but generally include an exaggerated importance of self, an intense need for admiration and recognition, an inability to empathize with others, and a tendency to exploit or manipulate others for personal gain. Other symptoms may include:

  • Exaggerated sense of superiority – an unrealistic view of one’s own abilities or worth
  • Grandiose behavior – Acting superior to others in an attempt to gain attention or admiration.
  • An exaggerated need for admiration – an obsession with gaining admiration or attention from others or seeking unwarranted prestige.
  • An inability to empathize with others – difficulty putting themselves in the shoes of others and understanding their emotional state.
  • Exploitative behaviors – using others to achieve one’s goals or gain an advantage.
  • Unrealistic goals and expectations – setting high expectations for themselves and others, but failing to meet their own goals.

Treatment & Health

NPD is a chronic condition, and treatment is not always successful. There is no “cure” for NPD, and the goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms and improve a person’s overall functioning and well-being. Treatment may include psychotherapy, talk therapy, and medication.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is the main form of treatment for NPD. This type of therapy focuses on helping the person gain insight into their behavior and developing healthier coping mechanisms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used to help people with NPD learn to recognize distorted thinking patterns and how to better accept criticism and criticism of others.

In addition to psychotherapy, medications can also be used to help manage symptoms of NPD. Common medications include antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers.

By learning to manage their symptoms, people with NPD can improve their overall health and well-being. With treatment, they can learn how to better relate to others, improve their self-esteem, and develop healthier coping strategies.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Health

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