What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an extreme tendency to appreciate himself, be considered different and feel deserving of special treatment.

These people often feel narcissistic personality disorder that they deserve special treatment, are considered overly important and because they care so much about themselves, they lack compassion for other people.

Read Define Narcissist.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The greatness characteristic of these people – fantasies of grandeur – generates some negative attributes such as:

  • Do not feel comfortable if no one looks at them.
  • Need constant attention.
  • Exploit others for your own benefit.
  • They become depressed often because they fail to live up to their expectations.
  • They are often envious of successful people.
  • Little empathy.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder


Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPT) is often vain, pretentious and exaggerates their abilities.

He usually monopolizes conversations, looks at others as inferiors, and if he does not receive special treatment, he may become angry or impatient.

In addition, he usually looks for the best of everything; The best house, the best training, the best car, the best clothes…

On the other hand, it is often difficult to accept criticism and may have feelings of vulnerability, insecurity or shame.

To feel better, you can humiliate others and treat them with contempt, or you may become depressed because you fail to live up to your expectations.

The diagnostic criteria of DSM-5 for NPT include these characteristics:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even when your achievements do not deserve it.
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents.
  • Be worried about fantasies about power, success or beauty.
  • Believing to be superior and that can only be related to equal people.
  • Need constant admiration.
  • Expect special favors.
  • Take advantage of others to get what you want.
  • Little empathy.
  • Believing others envy you and be envious of others.
  • Behave in an arrogant way.

Related: Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Although the causes are not well understood, genes are known to play an important role (approximately 50%).

However, the environment and personal experiences also have an important influence.

Some hypotheses are:

Groopman and Cooper (2006) made a list of factors identified by several researchers:

  • A hypersensitive temperament from birth.
  • Excessive admiration that never balances with realistic feedback.
  • Excessive praise for good behavior or excessive criticism for bad behavior in childhood.
  • Overestimation by parents or other family members.
  • Be praised for exceptional looks or abilities.
  • Severe emotional abuse in childhood.
  • Unpredictable or unreliable parental care.
  • Learn the manipulative behaviors of parents or peers.
  • Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem.

Recent research has identified structural abnormalities in the brains of people with NPT, specifically a smaller volume of gray matter in the left anterior insula (this region is related to compassion, empathy, emotional regulation and cognitive functioning).

Subtypes of narcissistic disorder

Psychologist Theodore Million identified five subtypes of narcissistic people. However, there are few variants of any of the subtypes and are not recognized by the DSM.

  • Narcissist without principles (includes antisocial characteristics): exploiter, liar, unscrupulous, fraudulent, arrogant, charlatan.
  • Narcissistic love (includes narcissistic characteristics): seductive, talkative, intelligent, +++pathological liar.
  • Sexually seductive, attractive, seductive, seductive; Talkative and intelligent; Disinclines true intimacy; He surrenders to hedonistic desires; Bewitches and inveigles others; The lie and the pathological scam.
  • Compensatory Narcissist (includes negative and avoidant characteristics): seeks to counteract feelings of inferiority and lack of self-esteem, illusions of superiority.
  • Elitist narcissist (variant of pure pattern): seeks advantages by relating to people of high status, seeks a good life, feels privileged, believes that has achieved great achievements.


  • Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on:
  • Signs and symptoms.
  • Psychological evaluation (interviews or questionnaires).
  • A physical exam to make sure there are no physiological problems that cause the symptoms.

Diagnostic criteria according to DSM-IV

A general pattern of grandiosity (in imagination or behavior), a need for admiration and a lack of empathy that begins at the beginning of adulthood and occur in various contexts as indicated by five (or more) of the following items:

  • It has a great sense of self-importance (for example, it exaggerates achievements and capabilities, expects to be recognized as superior without proportionate achievements).
  • He is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or imaginary love.
  • It believes that it is “special” and unique and that it can only be understood by, or can only be related to, other people (or instructions) that are special or high status.
  • It demands excessive admiration.
  • It’s very pretentious.
  • It is interpersonally exploitative.
  • He lacks empathy.
  • He often envies others or believes others envy him.
  • Has arrogant or arrogant behavior or attitude.

Treatment for narcissistic disorder

The first line of treatment for NPT is cognitive-behavioral therapy .

Personality traits are difficult to change, so therapy can take a long time. The important areas of change are:

  • Learn to relate better to others, work on social skills.
  • Improve empathy.
  • Understand the way of thinking and causes of emotions that trigger narcissistic behavior.
  • Maintain personal relationships and learn to collaborate.
  • Recognize the competition and real potential to tolerate criticism and failure.
  • Increase the ability to understand and control emotions .
  • Improve self-esteem .
  • Release the desire to reach unattainable goals.


There are no drugs specifically used for NPT.

However, anxiolytics or antidepressants may be used to treat other conditions such as depression or anxiety.


The progress of people with NPT depends on:

  • The severity of the disorder.
  • The time when treatment begins.
  • The person’s current personal relationships.
  • If there is a history of child abuse.
  • Whether or not treatment is received.


If left untreated, NPT can cause several complications in a person’s life:

  • Problems at work or school.
  • Difficulties in personal relationships.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.