What Is NPD? (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

Disclaimer: Please do not self-diagnose nor use this to diagnose others. This article is not medical advice, rather, it is for informative purposes only. Please talk to a doctor or mental health professional if you feel you have NPD or any personality disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, otherwise known as NPD is a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity. We may see it in people who have an inflated self-esteem with little regard for others. It is important to note that NPD is a psychiatric condition and is more complex than simply being arrogant. The condition causes much distress to the people with it and to the people around them. In this article, we hope to shed some light on the condition, and signs that a person should seek help.

What is NPD?

People with NPD are primarily noted for their feelings of grandiosity. While TV and movies may portray narcissism as someone who feels like they’re better than everyone else, it usually is not the case. NPD is a personality disorder in which the affected person feels they’re unique and are in constant need for validation. This need for validation often comes from a place of insecurity and instability rather than genuine self-love – which the person may not be aware of. Their feelings of superiority often hints at a problem deep down to where they need to build a facade for themselves. They’re extremely vulnerable to the slightest criticism. Unfortunately, this affection seeking behavior can be detrimental to the individual themself and toxic to others in their life (PsychologyToday).  

What causes NPD?

Not much is known about the causes of NPD. However, researchers believe that it has to do with a combination of genetics and environment. Some believe that NPD is developed as a way to cope with trauma and feelings of inadequacy. Others believe it may be learned in early childhood from dealing from anything including abuse to excessive pampering (PsychCentral). There’s debate as to how much of the condition is passed down from parent to child to the child acquiring the traits from the parent based on the environment. It is believed that 6% of people have this condition and that males have higher rates of the condition than females (Ambardar).

What are the signs and symptoms?

Feelings of grandiosity; that you’re superior to others is a huge warning sign. People with NPD tend to need constant validation from others and get offended at any criticism. Another common sign is low empathy. People with NPD may have little regard to others and manipulate them to get what they want. They may see themselves as entitled to whatever it is that they want (Mayo Clinic). This particular sign is especially dangerous to people in their lives as it can manifest into toxic relationships. They may brag and exaggerate their achievements and feel envious of anyone that outperforms them. They may lash out at the people in their lives especially if they don’t get what they want. Beyond all of this, deep down the person with NPD really may deal with feelings of their own inadequacy (HelpGuide). 

How do I know to get help?

People with NPD may not seek help for the condition itself, as they may not know that there’s an issue. Commonly, people are diagnosed because they seek treatment for other issues such as depression or addiction. However, people who feel that they may have the condition are urged to reach out for help. NPD and the underlying feelings of inadequacy can be treated. It not only benefits the individual, but the people around them (Mayo Clinic).

What treatment options are available?

Most commonly, people with NPD work with a therapist using psychotherapy methods. Other self-improving activities such as exercise and hobbies may be used in conjunction with therapy. It is important to know that treatment is available and that life can be made more manageable. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition that directly affects not only the person with the condition, but the people around them. Relationships tend to be toxic and unstable. Fortunately, there is help available for people with the condition and resources available for people dealing with a person with NPD (Skodol). 

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  • Ambardar, S. (2019, November 10). What is the prevalence of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in the US? Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/answers/1519417-101779/what-is-the-prevalence-of-narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd-in-the-us
  • Grohol, J. M. (2020, January 14). Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms & Treatments. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (2020, January). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder. (2017, November 18). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (2019, February 7). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) Resources. (2019, May 6). Retrieved from https://bandbacktogether.com/master-resource-links-2/mental-illness-resources/personality-disorder-resources/narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd-resources/
  • Skodol, A. (n.d.). Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) – Psychiatric Disorders. Retrieved December 2019, from https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/personality-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd
  • Smith, M., & Robinson, L. (2020, April 16). Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder.htm



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