Many people have used the term “narcissistic” to describe someone who is self-centered; while many people use this as an adjective to describe someone, it is a personality disorder and should be treated as such. Mayo Clinic identifies narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. By understanding the symptoms of NPD, we can better help our loved ones recognize symptoms within themselves and seek treatment.

In a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, published in the Journal of Psychiatry, approximately 7.7% of men and 4.8% of women in the United States develop NPD. Dr. Elsa Ronningstam, writer for Psychiatric Times, states that much of our research on NPD has focused on the self-centered aspects of the disorder rather than the deep, internal struggles that a person with NPD faces. The article suggests that further investigation of a person’s fluctuations regarding functioning, self-esteem, identity and interpersonal interactions could provide for a clearer strategy regarding treatment and intervention. Medical News Today provides the following symptoms of NPD:

  • An overwhelming appetite for attention from others
  • Prone to feelings of jealousy
  • Feelings of deserving special treatment
  • Exaggerated achievements, talents, and importance
  • Extreme sensitivity
  • Trouble managing healthy relationships
  • Engaged in fantasies regarding intelligence, success, power, etc.
  • Takes advantage of others to get what they want
  • Feels rejected easily
  • Considers themselves as very skilled – more so than anyone else
  • Responds to criticism with anger, humiliation, and shame

This list is not exhaustive, but provides a deep look into the nature of NPD. Those who have this disorder tend to strive for perfection and may be seen by others as tough-minded or unempathetic. Most of the criteria for NPD must be exaggerated in the individual and chronic, meaning that they reoccur consistently. Treatment options for NPD often include psychotherapy, in which a person can talk to a therapist to work through their problems. Some other forms of treatment are group therapy, family therapy, and medication, all of which can be beneficial depending on the person’s needs.

If you are concerned about a loved one or yourself, call a health care professional today. New Vista Behavioral Health is a national family of treatment centers that aid in both addiction and mental health behavioral recovery.  Our passionate, skilled team will help your loved one from the very start – walking with them every step of the way to ensure their well-being. To get a consultation, call us today at 844-593-4104.


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