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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 ultra-confidence 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. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not live up to their expectations.
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways that limit their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life.
People with narcissistic personality disorder may:
- Believe they’re superior to others and can only be understood by or associate with other special or high-status people
- Expound on their own importance
- Frequently seek admiration
- Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
- Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal love
- Believe they’re special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people
- Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
- Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
- Take advantage of others to get what they want
- Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Be envious of others and believe others envy them
- Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner
Like all personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder exists on a spectrum. Some people with the disorder have only minor symptoms, while others have more serious symptoms that significantly impair their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life.
It’s not known what causes narcissistic personality disorder. As with other personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as:
- Inherited characteristics. Narcissistic personality disorder may be more common in people who have certain inherited personality traits, such as a greater need for attention, a sense of entitlement and a preoccupation with success.
- Environmental influences. Family environment, social experiences and cultural influences may contribute to the development of narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation. The diagnosis is made if the person has symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder that cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as work, school or personal relationships.
Talk therapy is the most common form of treatment for narcissistic personality disorder. In therapy, the person with narcissistic personality disorder will work with a therapist to identify the parts of their life and personality that need to change.
Therapy can be a long process and may require several years of treatment. Medications may also be prescribed to help