Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are mental health conditions that involve an excessive sense of grandiosity and a lack of empathy toward others. People with NPD often have an inflated sense of their own importance and feel entitled to special treatment.

It is crucial to properly understand Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) to be able to identify it timely, seek help, and provide effective treatment. Narcissists do not often recognize the presence of the problem or do not strive to seek help on their own. It is important for family, friends, and healthcare professionals to be aware of the signs so that they can intervene and help the person recognize their condition and seek appropriate treatment.

This article will explore the characteristics, symptoms, and treatment options for this dysfunction.

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is an ailment characterized by excessive self-centeredness. Narcissists tend to be preoccupied with themselves, their own success, and power and may have difficulty forming genuine relationships. Also, such people have a strong need for admiration from others and often exploit other people in order to gain attention or prestige. It is often thought of as a spectrum disorder, with some individuals exhibiting more traits than others.

What are the Characteristics of Narcissism? 

The following characteristics may be present in people with the syndrome:

  • Sense of grandiosity and entitlement
  • Need for admiration and attention 
  • Lack of empathy
  • Manipulative behavior
  • Selfish pursuit of one’s own desires without regard for the needs or feelings of others 
  • Difficulty with accepting criticism, as they view it as an attack on their self-importance  
  • Excessive concern about their physical appearance and status
  • Exaggerated sense of superiority, believing they are better than everyone else 
  • Competitiveness and need to be the best at everything.

Still, it is essential to remember that the condition, in small “doses,” can actually be a positive trait. Healthy narcissism involves having a realistic sense of self-esteem and confidence. It also includes being able to accept constructive criticism and feedback from others.

But Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a more extreme form of narcissism. People with NPD may be overly concerned with their physical appearance and status, believing they are better than everyone else. Narcissistic Personality Disorder can cause significant distress and impair social, occupational, and personal functioning.

How is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosed? 

In order to officially diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a mental health professional must complete a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that includes a detailed history, including the individual’s symptoms and behaviors, interviews with family members or close associates to assess behavior patterns, and psychological tests to measure NPD symptoms. 

NPD can be divided into two subtypes: the grandiose narcissist and the vulnerable narcissist. The grandiose narcissist is characterized by grandiosity, arrogance, aggression, and an inflated sense of self-importance. They have a strong need for admiration and may become angry or hostile when they feel they are not being given enough attention.

In contrast, the vulnerable narcissist is characterized by feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, hypersensitivity to criticism, and an intense fear of rejection.

Causes of Narcissism and NPD

The cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic factors, environmental influences, and psychological mechanisms. In addition, it is thought that traits may be passed down from one generation to the next, potentially due to the power of certain genes or developmental experiences in childhood.

Environmental influences may also play a role in shaping illness tendencies. For example, people who are surrounded by adoring family members or peers may come to rely on this admiration for validation and self-esteem, ultimately leading to egotistical behavior.

Additionally, it can often arise as a defense mechanism against underlying feelings of insecurity or inadequacy.

Effects of Narcissism and NPD

The effects of the syndrome can be far-reaching, impacting relationships, work, and other areas of life. For example, patients may have difficulty forming meaningful connections with others due to their lack of empathy and tendency to manipulate or exploit those around them. As a result, they often struggle to maintain healthy relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners.

People with NPD  may also face difficulties in the workplace due to their need for excessive admiration from colleagues and unwillingness to take responsibility for mistakes or shortcomings. This dysfunction is also associated with an increased risk of developing co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues, eating disorders, and more.

Treatment Options of Narcissism and NPD

People with this state of mind can benefit from various treatment options such as psychotherapy, medication, rehabilitation centers, and support groups.

Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, offering individuals an opportunity to explore their feelings, behaviors, and relationships in a safe environment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be particularly beneficial by teaching them strategies to combat negative thoughts and change destructive behavior patterns.

Medication may also be prescribed to manage symptoms of co-occurring mental health issues or address specific symptoms associated with the disorder, such as impulsivity or aggression.

Finally, rehabilitation centers are available to provide sufferers with intensive therapy and a supportive environment in which they can learn to manage their dysfunctional tendencies.

Support groups, such as Narcissists Anonymous, can also be beneficial as they allow patients to connect with others who understand their struggles and provide a supportive community in which they can heal.

Self-help Strategies

In addition to professional mental health treatment, narcissists and those affected by the disease can also benefit from various self-help strategies, such as the following:

  1. Learning ways to practice self-compassion, set healthy boundaries, gain insight into  self-centered behaviors, and focus on developing strong relationships with supportive people.
  1. Reducing exposure to social media and other sources of validation or admiration in order to avoid reinforcing Narcissistic tendencies. 
  1. Seeking help as soon as possible if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. 

With the right treatment plan and support system in place, individuals with NPD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead happier lives.

Coping Strategies for Family and Friends

Family members and friends can also benefit from learning about narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as well as various strategies for managing the symptoms and behaviors. This includes:

  • Setting healthy boundaries with Narcissists
  • Providing support without enabling Narcissistic behavior
  • Learning how to identify signs of emotional manipulation
  • Avoiding responding to provocation
  • Focusing on rebuilding trust in relationships.

Additionally, family members and friends should make sure to practice self-care and take time away from Narcissistic individuals if needed in order to maintain their own mental health and well-being. Online support groups are also available for those who need help navigating complicated relationships or recovering from narcissistic abuse.


In summary, narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are serious psychological conditions that can have a significant impact on the lives of those affected. Therefore, it is important to understand narcissistic behavior in order to timely recognize it and seek proper treatment when necessary. Treatment options include psychotherapy, medication, rehabilitation centers, support groups, and various self-help strategies.

Additionally, family members and friends of sufferers should also be aware of the disease in order to provide support and learn how to manage narcissus-like behavior.

Finally, future research should focus on more effective treatment strategies for narcissism and NPD. With a better understanding and more effective treatment options, people who struggle with the condition can learn to manage their disorder tendencies and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

By Geo