Narcissist Personality Disorder: Characteristics and Treatment Options

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, a need for excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. While it’s important to remember that only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose NPD, this article will provide an overview of the characteristics and potential treatment options for individuals with narcissistic traits.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically exhibit a range of consistent behaviors and traits, which may include:

1. Grandiosity

One of the hallmark characteristics of NPD is an inflated sense of self-importance. Individuals with NPD often exaggerate their talents and achievements and expect to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.

2. Need for Admiration

People with NPD have an insatiable need for admiration and validation. They seek constant attention and often expect others to cater to their desires and opinions.

3. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is often lacking in individuals with NPD. They struggle to understand or relate to the emotions and needs of others, making it challenging to form deep, meaningful relationships.

4. Sense of Entitlement

Narcissists often believe that they are entitled to special treatment and unquestioning compliance with their expectations. They may exploit others to achieve their goals.

5. Fragile Self-Esteem

Beneath the grandiose exterior, individuals with NPD often have a fragile self-esteem. They are highly sensitive to criticism and can become defensive or hostile in response.

6. Manipulative Behavior

Narcissists may use manipulative tactics to maintain control and power in their relationships. They can be charming and charismatic, but their motives are often self-serving.

Treatment Options for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Treating Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be challenging due to the individual’s resistance to recognizing their behavior as problematic. However, several therapeutic approaches can be beneficial:

1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), can be effective in helping individuals with NPD address their maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors. Through therapy, they can develop self-awareness and work on improving their interpersonal skills and empathy.

2. Group Therapy

Group therapy provides individuals with NPD the opportunity to interact with others who share similar challenges. It can help them gain insight into their behavior and learn from the experiences and feedback of peers.

3. Medication

While medication is not a primary treatment for NPD, it can be used to address co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety that may accompany the disorder.

4. Self-Help Resources

There are self-help books and resources available that can provide individuals with NPD insights into their condition and strategies for self-improvement. However, self-help should complement, not replace, professional therapy.

5. Family Involvement

Family therapy can be helpful when dealing with a loved one who has NPD. It can provide education, support, and strategies for improving communication and boundaries within the family.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a complex condition that can be challenging to address. However, with the right therapeutic interventions, individuals with NPD can make progress in developing healthier self-perceptions, improved interpersonal relationships, and a greater sense of empathy. Seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is essential for those dealing with NPD, as it provides the best chance for meaningful change and personal growth.

Leave a Comment