Narcissistic Personality Disorder


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

One of several diagnosed personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a condition in which people possess an inflated sense of their importance, an extreme need for admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Often, it results in overblown egos and feelings of superiority over others.

However, the truth is NPD is a mask of false confidence that very fragile individuals hide behind. They suffer from low self-esteem and low confidence. In an attempt to overcome these feelings, people with this disorder can develop personalities that are demanding, manipulative, and arrogant.

Naturally, this behavior generates problems across all facets of life, especially affecting relationships at work, school, and in the family. When they don’t receive the attention they think they deserve, people with this disorder grow increasingly discontented in their relationships and with their life in general. Ultimately, their demeanor makes life difficult for those around them.


About six percent of the U.S. population suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. Typically, NPD affects more males than females with symptoms usually developing in early adulthood.


A clear cause of narcissistic personality disorder has not been identified, yet we do know that it results from some form of brain disorder that affects personality. In patients treated for NPD, there are some factors that could play a role in the development of the disorder and brain dysfunction. These factors include:

  • Childhood trauma or abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, etc.)
  • Troubled relationships with parents, family, friends, etc.
  • Family history of NPD
  • Hypersensitivity to noise, light, and other stimuli during childhood


Symptoms of NPD range in scope and severity across many areas. People with NPD often show:

  • An exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • A need for persistent praise and admiration
  • An obsession over fanciful levels of beauty, success, power, intelligence, etc.
  • An attitude of arrogance and callousness toward others
  • An expectation of compliance without question
  • A belief that others envy them (while they truly envy others)
  • An entitlement mentality
  • A recognition of superiority and that only others of “equal standing” deserve their attention
  • A tendency to manipulate and take advantage of others to get their way

Additionally, people with NPD do not handle criticism well, which can result in other behaviors, including:

  • Emotional instability in response to the criticism
  • Impatience and anger when special treatment is not offered
  • Criticizing in return to assert their own superiority
  • Shame and humiliation
  • Depression because of their perceived failings and imperfection
  • Revenge against the offending person

Unfortunately, we have found that those suffering from NPD also often face co-existing mental health conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Is narcissistic personality disorder treatable?

NPD can be treated successfully. However, because of the brain dysfunction that causes NPD, it is often difficult for people with narcissistic personality disorder to recognize their need for help. Once treatment starts, though, therapy can help sufferers relate in healthier ways with family, friends, and coworkers.

Most commonly, our treatments for narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications (most often to treat co-existing disorders)
  • Natural supplements
  • Exercises to stimulate healthy brain activity

How do I get help for myself or a loved one?

If you recognize symptoms of NPD in your life – or a loved one’s life – we know the pain and isolation it can cause. Contact us at Bridgepoint today to set up an evaluation to begin dealing with the sadness, anxiety, and turmoil that accompany narcissistic personality disorder.
The sooner you initiate the healing process, the sooner we can work together to restore proper brain function and lessen or eliminate the problems caused by NPD. You are not alone – we are here and ready to apply our years of experience to help you establish the healthy mental state you desire.

Visit Our Resources Page

Bridgepoint encourages clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to research new methodologies and techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. To assist with your own learning, we’ve put together a variety of resources on a variety of topics – including genomics – to help you on your mental health journey.

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