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  • Writer's pictureThe Therapy Place Team

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: What it is (And What it isn't)

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Narcissism is a common catchphrase these days. It seems many of us hear it almost daily, and in all sorts of contexts, and applied to all sorts of people. But what is NPD, and how is it different from narcissistic personality traits (or for that matter, how's it different from just being a selfish jerk)?


Narcissistic Personality Disorder


NPD is a personality disorder that is diagnosed by a mental health professional based on a set of specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These criteria include:


A grandiose sense of self-importance

Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

Belief in one's specialness and uniqueness

Need for excessive admiration

Sense of entitlement

Lack of empathy

Envious of others or believes that others are envious of them

Arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

People with NPD may have difficulty with relationships, work, and other aspects of life due to their intense need for admiration, their lack of empathy, and their belief in their own superiority. They may also have a difficult time accepting criticism or seeing other people's perspectives, leading to conflicts with others.


Narcissistic Personality Traits


In contrast to NPD, many people exhibit narcissistic personality traits, which are not necessarily indicative of a personality disorder. Narcissistic traits are common and include:


  • A desire for attention and admiration

  • A tendency to exaggerate one's accomplishments or importance

  • A preoccupation with appearance or status

  • A tendency to be sensitive to criticism

  • A belief in one's own abilities and talents

  • A focus on achieving personal goals and success

While these traits can be challenging to deal with at times, they do not necessarily indicate a mental health condition. It's important to distinguish between narcissistic traits and NPD, as NPD can have significant impacts on a person's life and require professional treatment.


Treatment for NPD


While there is no cure for NPD, therapy can be helpful in managing symptoms and improving relationships. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals with NPD identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. Additionally, therapy can help individuals develop empathy and improve their relationships with others.


In conclusion, narcissistic personality disorder is a serious mental health condition that can have significant impacts on a person's life and relationships. While many people exhibit narcissistic personality traits, it's important to distinguish between these traits and NPD, which requires professional treatment. If you or a loved one suspect that you may have NPD, seek the help of a mental health professional.is gaslighting?

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