Narcissistic Personality Disorder: What You Should Know

Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) is a mental illness characterized by exaggerated self-importance. NPD may be characterized by arrogance, a sense of superiority, a sense of entitlement, etc.

These characteristics can lead to relationship problems in people with NPD. This personality disorder is estimated to affect as many as 5 percent of Americans.

Read on to learn more about NPD symptoms, causes, treatments, coping strategies, and more.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

NPD falls under the category of personality disorders, specifically Type B personality disorders.A personality disorder is defined as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) For example, “a persistent inner pattern of experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of an individual’s culture.”

In addition to NPD, other Type B personality disorders include:

  • antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Hereditary Personality Disorder


The DSM-5 lists nine symptom criteria for NPD. Of these nine characteristics, five or more must be met to be diagnosed with NPD:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Obsessed with fantasies of infinite success
  • belief in particularity
  • Excessive need for admiration
  • sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonal exploitation (taking advantage of others for personal gain)
  • Jealous behavior (or believing others are jealous of you)
  • lack of empathy
  • Arrogant, arrogant behavior and attitude
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It’s important to note that there are several different types or NPD representations that might not fit into the more public DSM description.

Can NPD be cured?

Symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can improve if a person makes an active effort to understand and change behavior.


There are various factors in the development of NPD, such as:

  • family history
  • Personality Traits
  • negative developmental experiences
  • childhood trauma
  • Excessive praise as a child


The presentation and severity of NPD varies. Furthermore, limited research led to diagnostic challenges; in fact, NPD was originally planned to be omitted from the DSM-5 and was included only after feedback from the clinical and research communities.

In order for someone to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, they must exhibit at least five of the nine NPD traits outlined in the DSM-5.

That said, the diagnosis of this psychiatric disorder remains highly controversial due to limited research on NPD.


Talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, is often the mainstay of treatment for NPD. Examples of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

It is important to note that people with NPD must be actively involved in treatment for it to be effective. Also, because people showing signs of NPD are often unaware of their behavior and impact, they may have difficulty with psychotherapy and change.


If you have NPD, some coping strategies include:

  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • stay focused on therapy
  • Constantly strive to improve your relationships
  • reduce stress as much as possible

If you know or love someone with NPD, some ways to deal with their behavior include:

  • Establish firm boundaries and expectations around their behavior
  • separate people from their diagnosis
  • know when to go
  • keep patient
  • practice compassion

Remember that people with NPD are often unaware of their influences and behaviors, which is why narcissistic traits can cause many relationship problems.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition defined as an exaggerated sense of self-importance, often reflecting an underlying sense of vulnerability. It interferes with a person’s work and relationships. While personality disorders such as NPD can be difficult to treat, symptoms improve as long as people with NPD want to change.

VigorTip words

Narcissistic personality disorder can be an excruciating mental health condition. It can feel isolating and frustrating, especially since those with NPD have a hard time recognizing their behavior and the impact they have on others.

That is, change is impossible. Remember, NPD doesn’t have to define you; it’s about behavior that can be modified. Talk therapy is a good place to start. If a loved one says your actions hurt them, listen to them and ask how you can do better.

If you or a loved one is battling NPD, talk to a mental health professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is most likely to develop narcissistic personality disorder?

    The people most likely to have NPD are those with a family history and personality traits. Developmental experiences also play a role, such as childhood abuse or over-praising.

  • Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Hereditary?

    NPD is the result of a combination of experience and genetics. This means that NPD can be inherited to a certain extent.

  • How do I deal with someone with narcissistic personality disorder?

    It’s important to remember that people with NPD are often unaware of their influences and behaviors, which is why narcissistic traits can cause so many relationship problems. That said, establishing strong boundaries and expectations with your loved one through NPD is a great way to help them potentially curb behavior.