Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD): What It Is and Strategies To Manage It

10 min to read

June 6, 2024

Simon S.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Diagnosed through persistent patterns of behavior such as arrogance, entitlement, and manipulation, NPD significantly impacts personal and social relationships. Understanding NPD's genetic, environmental, and psychological roots aids in identifying and managing the disorder. Effective treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapypsychodynamic therapy, and schema therapy, often complemented by medications for co-occurring conditions. For those who suffer from NPD, setting clear boundaries and seeking support are essential coping mechanisms.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Arrogance, an unceasing need for praise, and a lack of concern for other people are characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Someone who enjoys praise and attention is the definition of a narcissist.

People with NPD have a strong sense of entitlement, act in a manipulative way, and are fixated on endless wealth, power, intelligence, beauty, or ideal love. People with NPD often feel better than others and are drawn to people they think are special. They are cocky and have a hard time understanding how other people feel. They typically have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and can be very demanding in their interactions with others.

man touching his own face seductively

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is defined by the DSM-5 as constantly feeling important, wanting praise, and not caring about other people. A person is identified with NPD if at least five of the following traits are present most of the time:.

First, some people think they are better than others, even though they haven't done anything. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and overestimate their skills and achievements. They look like they are daydreaming about being successful, powerful, smart, beautiful, or in love. Also, they feel special and want to work with well-known groups and people.

The DSM-5 says that people with narcissistic personality disorder need to be praised all the time, feel privileged, and take advantage of other people. They don't seem to understand how other people feel or what they need, and they don't show much understanding. Some people are jealous of other people or think that other people are better than them. Lastly, they are cocky in how they act and think.

To be labeled with NPD, these signs must make it very hard to do important things at work, in social situations, or in other important areas of life. This long list makes sure that the disorder is correctly diagnosed and shows how widespread its effects are.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Feelings of superiority, a need for praise, and not caring about other people are all signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Narcissists think they are better than everyone else and should be treated differently. People with high self-esteem often think about being successful, influential, brilliant, or beautiful all the time.

The need for admiration is one of NPD symptoms. People with NPD often take over conversations and put others down while they look for praise and approval. Also, they think they are entitled and expect favors and help without question.

Traits of narcissistic personality disorder can make relationships worse. People with NPD often get other people to do what they want without caring about or recognizing their needs and feelings. They might also seem cocky, arrogant, or condescending. They may also be envious of the things or accomplishments that other people have, or they may think that other people are envious of them. These signs have the potential to strain relationships at work, in social settings, and with friends.

Because people with NPD don't understand or care about other people's feelings, it can be hard to recognize or support them. This can make relationships harder and less meaningful. Some people put their own needs ahead of others' and seem emotionally removed or uncaring about their pain. Some people may become obsessed with their looks, accomplishments, or social standing in order to keep their position.

People who are narcissists may take criticism personally and get angry or rude when they don't get the praise they deserve. People with NPD often can't make deep emotional connections with others, which can make them feel alone and cause problems in communication.

People with NPD often lie and act too big-headed and they often use other people to get what they want. Some people don't care about how they make others feel and use charm, flattery, or lying to get what they want. People who are self-centered put themselves first, which can lead to relationships where they take advantage of others.

Narcissists act like they are better than everyone else. Because they think they are better than others, they brag and lie about their skills and wins. Often, they want power and expect favors that they haven't earned. They might seem arrogant and disrespectful toward people they think aren't as smart as them, which could make others dislike them.

When you combine trickery and arrogance, you act in a self-centered way that hurts trust and teamwork. People with NPD often have trouble keeping good relationships going because they want to be admired and controlled.

Causes and Risk Factors of NP Disorder

People who have a family member with NPD are more likely to also get it, which suggests that genes may play a part. Neurobiological factors, such as the structure and function of the brain, may possibly lead to NPD.

Genetic factors, such as hereditary narcissism, can affect psychological traits and behavior patterns, according to a study. Families and twins show that people with close relatives who have NPD are more likely to also have it themselves, which shows that narcissism is genetic.

Some traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), like being cocky, needing a lot of praise, and not caring about other people, are passed down through genes. There is evidence that some DNA variations may make people more selfish. Keep in mind that genetics can change the shape and function of the brain, especially in areas that help control emotions, understand other people's points of view, and become self-aware.

The environment in which a person grows up, particularly where they live, shapes their narcissism. Kids may become self-important if you spoil them too much, value them too highly, or punish them in different ways. Kids who get lots of praise and special attention might feel like they deserve it and are important.

Lack of care and stress in youth can lead to environmental narcissism. Without proper care or attention, children who are mistreated or ignored may turn narcissistic to protect themselves. Being arrogant and not caring about other people may keep them from going through more mental pain. These bad situations they had as kids shaped who they are and how they relate to others.

Cultural, social, and other environmental factors affect the growth of NPD. Narcissism can grow in places that value independence, competition, beauty, and status. People may feel like they have to boost their self-image to get support in these scenarios.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a very important field of psychology. Things that happen in early life can affect narcissism. Children who go through abuse, rejection, or sharp criticism may become narcissistic to protect their self-esteem. Too much confidence in oneself may help these people deal with feelings of not being good enough or low self-worth.

How kids take in and act out what their parents do is also very important. If kids see their parents or other adults who care for them being selfish, they might think that this is a normal or good way to connect with other people.

Treatment Options for NPD Mental Disorder

There are several psychotherapy treatment options for NPD and a few medications that a doctor would prescribe to manage symptoms.


Treating narcissism requires a range of specialized techniques that are designed to tackle the intricate and diverse aspects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

The key to CBT is recognizing and questioning the false beliefs and ideas that lead to narcissism. People with NPD often think they are more important than they really are, and they need attention. CBT helps people find and change bad thought habits, which leads to more accurate and positive ideas about themselves. Cognitive reworking can help people change their unrealistic ideas about themselves and others to ones that are more reasonable and logical.

For NPD therapy to work, psychodynamic treatment is needed. This treatment helps people who are narcissistic deal with their deep-seated reasons, traumatic events from childhood, and mental conflicts. People in psychodynamic treatment can figure out and heal from early relationship trauma that may have led to narcissistic defenses. Helping people understand these factors can help them deal with their feelings and make their relationships better. This method helps people learn more about themselves, which can make their relationships and mental health better.

Schema therapy uses a lot of different treatments to deal with deeply held ideas and patterns, or schemas. These habits are often caused by unmet mental needs at a young age. Schema therapy helps people with NPD find and change unhealthy habits. These simple patterns can help people get better at controlling their feelings and coping. Schema therapy stresses how important it is for the doctor and client to have a helpful relationship so that emotional scars can heal.

Group treatment is a safe place for people with NPD to meet with others who are going through the same problems. People can get better at getting along with others, learning from each other, and making real relationships in group therapy. This setting helps people with NPD connect with each other in a more caring and less competitive way. Group treatment might also help people who are lonely and build communities.

When family relationships are tense and may cause or keep narcissism alive, family therapy can help. Family therapy helps the whole family talk to each other better, set boundaries, and understand each other better. This method can help family members help a loved one with NPD while also taking care of their own needs.


Drugs are not usually the first thing that people with NPD try. It might help people with other illnesses and some NPD signs. The best way to treat narcissism is through therapy, but some drugs can help with problems like depression, anxiety, and mood swings that often happen with NPD.

Antidepressants are often given to NPD patients who are depressed or anxious. Sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac) are commonly prescribed drugs that help with anxiety and sadness and make people feel more stable. These medications can make NPD counseling and therapy more alluring by elevating mood.

Mood stabilizers can help people with NPD who have big mood swings or act on impulse. Medications like lithium and anticonvulsants like Lamictal and Depakote can help with mood swings and anger issues. This can help make the treatment area a more safe place for the person's emotions.

Antipsychotics may be given to people with NPD who are severely paranoid, violent, or delusional. Risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa) can help treat these serious symptoms, which can make treatment and daily life better.

Short-term use of benzodiazepines can help calm people who are very anxious or upset. Because they can cause habits, doctors give them carefully and for a short time.

Coping Strategies for Partners and Families

It can be hard to deal with selfish people in your family or partner, but there are ways to make things easier. It's important to set clear limits since narcissists won't cross the line if you set clear limits and talk to them calmly.

Families with narcissistic members may benefit from family therapy. Therapists can help people communicate better, learn how to deal with problems, and deal with bad behaviors. With this skilled help, family members may feel more confident and connected.

People who are married to a narcissist should put themselves first and get help from others. Partners need to take care of their own health and happiness by keeping up with friends and support groups and having hobbies. These networks help people with NPD by giving them support and knowledge.

What is NPD?

Recognizing Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is very important for anyone who is touched by it, whether they have it themselves or know someone who does. Anxiety, a lack of empathy, and a need for attention may be easier to understand if you know about NPD. People can deal with narcissists better if they know these traits about them.

To set fair goals and hone coping mechanisms, family and partners need NPD education. Realizing that these actions are psychological and not personal can help people feel less angry and more compassionate, which can lead to better relationships.

People with NPD can better handle their symptoms if they know about different types of treatment, healthy ways to cope, and a strong support system.

Setting Boundaries

For your own health and to build good relationships, it's important to set limits when dealing with narcissists. Set limits by talking to each other well. Set clear boundaries between what you will and will not do. Avoid arguments by being clear about what you want and using "I" words.

It is important to set clear limits and stick to them. Setting and following through on punishments for boundary violations makes them more important. If someone keeps talking over you or putting you down, end the chat and leave. Consistently sticking to your limits sends the message that they can't be changed.

Taking care of yourself is important while setting limits. Do things that make you feel good, and if you need help, talk to your friends, family, or a support group. This network helps people set limits by giving them mental and physical support. Remember that setting limits is about keeping your mental and emotional health safe, not about controlling other people. This approach can make things more positive and fair, which can help your health and lessen the bad effects of self-centered behavior.


Knowing the typical signs and actions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can help doctors figure out what is wrong and how to treat it. Some examples are not caring about other people, being manipulative, being cocky, and having a constant need for praise. These people often think they are more valuable than they really are and use other people to get what they want. Most of the time, the best way to treat people with multiple problems is to mix psychotherapy, like cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic treatment, with medication. Managing interactions with someone who has NPD means setting limits and getting help and therapy. By working on the mental and behavioral symptoms of NPD, people may be able to improve their relationships and health.

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