What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder

June 25, 2024

Have you ever wondered about narcissistic personality disorder and how it affects people? This disorder often gets mentioned in conversations but isn’t always fully understood. It involves a pattern where individuals have an inflated sense of their importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Here, we’ll explore what it really means to have this condition and how it impacts both the person and their relationships. If you or someone you know is struggling, Time Wellness Arkansas provides resources that can help. We want to offer clear, helpful information to help you better understand and address the challenges of narcissistic personality disorder.

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition that can make life challenging not just for the person who has it but also for those around them. People with NPD often feel more important than others and crave constant admiration. However, beneath this exterior lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Woman with narcissistic personality disorder looking at herself in the mirror.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is often misunderstood and seen as mere egoism rather than a complex psychiatric condition.

This disorder can lead to significant personal conflicts and an inability to maintain healthy relationships. Understanding narcissistic personality disorder is the first step in managing its impacts. It’s crucial for those affected and their loved ones to recognize the signs and seek the appropriate support and interventions. What causes narcissistic personality disorder is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a complex combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

Who is Most Likely to Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) might seem rare, affecting only about 0.5% of people in the U.S., or 1 in 200. It’s crucial to understand that while some may show traits of narcissism, actual NPD is less common. Interestingly, this condition is diagnosed predominantly in men, who make up about 75% of those identified.

Looking at different groups, the numbers vary. For example, 2% to 6% of individuals at mental health clinics are diagnosed with NPD. Among forensic populations, the rate is about 6%. The military sees around 20% of personnel showing traits of the disorder, while 17% of first-year medical students may exhibit characteristics of NPD. These statistics highlight how NPD can appear in various demographics.

Common Misconceptions About NPD

Myth: People with NPD are just very confident.
Truth: It might look like confidence, but it’s deeper than that. Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves a fragile self-esteem that’s heavily dependent on others for validation. Unlike simple confidence, NPD leads individuals to seek constant admiration and attention.

Myth: NPD can’t be treated.
Truth: While challenging, NPD is treatable. Therapy can help manage symptoms and lead to healthier relationships. It’s a misconception that those with NPD are stuck this way forever.

Myth: People with NPD are always successful and charismatic.
Truth: While some individuals with NPD might appear charming and successful, this isn’t a universal rule. The disorder can also manifest in struggles with normal functioning, maintaining stable relationships, and achieving personal goals due to the underlying vulnerabilities and self-esteem issues.

Myth: NPD results from too much pampering or excessive criticism during childhood.
Truth: The causes of NPD are not fully understood, but they are likely influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Simplifying it to just parenting style overlooks the complex interplay of influences that shape this disorder.

Myth: Narcissists never recognize they have a problem.
Truth: Awareness varies among individuals with NPD. Some may recognize their behavior patterns and seek help, especially when they face repeated personal or professional problems. Insight into their condition can be a key step towards recovery.

Man with narcissistic personality disorder looking at himself in the mirror.
Contrary to common belief, many individuals with NPD are aware of their condition and the problems it causes.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Traits and Types

Individuals with NPD typically display a pattern of grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. These traits often lead to difficulties in personal and professional relationships. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is marked by distinct traits and comes in different forms, namely overt and covert narcissism. Here’s a closer look at these aspects:

  1. Overt narcissism: This more recognizable form involves clear expressions of arrogance and entitlement. Individuals with overt narcissism are outwardly attention-seeking and display an excessive need for admiration.
  2. Covert narcissism: Less obvious than its counterpart, covert narcissism features an introverted style of NPD. Those with this type may appear shy or modest but internally feel entitled and often harbor resentment towards others.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Recognizing the signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is key to understanding and managing this complex condition. Here, we’ll outline the symptoms that are commonly observed in those diagnosed with NPD. Here are some of the narcissistic personality disorder symptoms that might indicate someone is dealing with NPD:

  • Grandiosity and self-importance
  • Fantasies of success, power, or perfect love
  • Belief in being special and unique
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally exploitative behavior
  • Lack of empathy
  • Feeling envious of others or believing that others are envious of them
  • Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

How to Cope If a Family Member Has NPD

Dealing with a family member who has narcissistic personality disorder  (NPD) can be challenging. Recognizing the signs is crucial—look for behaviors that disrupt family dynamics, like a constant need for admiration or a lack of empathy. Setting and maintaining boundaries is essential; clearly communicate these limits to help manage your interactions. Engage in activities that foster well-being and reduce stress, such as hobbies or exercise.

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, support groups, or a therapist who can offer guidance and a listening ear. During interactions, stay calm and use “I” statements to express your feelings without escalating tensions. These steps can help maintain a healthier relationship and personal well-being amidst the challenges of NPD.

Women having an emotional conversation.
Conversations with family members who have NPD can be emotionally charged and challenging, making it crucial to approach these interactions thoughtfully.

Treatments for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

When it comes to managing narcissistic personality disorder, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Narcissistic personality disorder treatments vary widely, and finding the right approach for you is key. It might involve therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Exploring options like anxiety treatment in Fayetteville AR, can also help address underlying issues. The journey to improvement is personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. Take the time to find a treatment path that feels right for you.


Psychotherapy is a powerful tool in managing narcissistic personality disorder, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) being two effective approaches. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thinking patterns, which can be particularly helpful for those with NPD to develop more realistic self-images and healthier relationships. DBT, on the other hand, focuses on teaching coping skills to manage stress, regulate emotions, and improve relationships.

These therapies provide practical techniques to handle the challenges of NPD. If you’re looking for support, a mental health therapist in Fayetteville AR, specializing in these therapies, can guide you through the process. Engaging with a therapist can lead to significant improvements in understanding and managing the behaviors associated with NPD.

Man with narcissistic personality disorder talking to a therapist.
Speaking with a therapist can be incredibly beneficial in managing NPD effectively.


When dealing with narcissistic personality disorder, medications aren’t typically the first treatment considered, but they can play a supportive role. These aren’t specific drugs targeting NPD directly, but they help manage symptoms like mood swings, depression, or anxiety that often accompany this condition. For example, antidepressants might be prescribed to lift a person’s mood or antipsychotics to stabilize emotional fluctuations.

While medications don’t cure NPD, they can make it easier for someone to engage in therapy more effectively. This approach helps in managing behaviors and improving the quality of life. If you or someone you know is exploring treatment options for NPD, discussing medication as part of a broader treatment plan with a healthcare provider or at depression treatment centers in Arkansas can be a valuable step. Remember, each step taken is part of a journey toward better mental health.

Group Therapy and Support Groups

Group therapy and support groups can be incredibly beneficial for those dealing with narcissistic personality disorder, providing a community where individuals can share experiences and learn from others in similar situations.

If you’re looking for immediate support or need guidance on where to find the right treatment, the mental health hotline Arkansas can connect you with resources tailored to your needs. Remember, reaching out is the first step towards recovery and managing your condition more effectively.

Self-Help Strategies and Lifestyle Changes

Managing narcissistic personality disorder often involves more than therapy; it also requires daily lifestyle changes and self-help strategies. Incorporating these strategies into your daily life can help manage symptoms and lead to healthier interpersonal interactions. Here are some practical steps you can take:

  1. Set realistic goals: Start small and aim for achievable objectives to build self-esteem without feeding narcissistic tendencies.
  2. Practice mindfulness: Engaging in mindfulness exercises can help increase your awareness of others’ feelings and decrease egocentric behaviors.
  3. Maintain healthy relationships: Work on building and maintaining relationships that are based on mutual respect and understanding.
  4. Seek regular feedback: Constructive feedback from trusted friends or therapists can help you understand and manage behaviors that stem from NPD.
  5. Establish routine: A stable routine can support emotional balance and reduce impulses to seek out excessive admiration or attention.
Two friends sitting by the water and talking.
Maintaining friendships provides valuable support and perspective when dealing with NPD.

Challenges in Treating NPD

Treating narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) presents unique challenges, but understanding these can pave the way for more effective management:

  • Recognition of the problem: Many with NPD don’t see their traits as issues, which makes seeking help less likely.
  • Engagement in therapy: Individuals may struggle to stay committed to therapy due to their belief systems.
  • Emotional awareness: People with NPD often have difficulty understanding and expressing their emotions, complicating the therapeutic process.
  • Impact on relationships: The interpersonal issues central to NPD can make maintaining a therapeutic relationship challenging.
  • Resistance to change: A core feature of NPD is a strong resistance to change, particularly changes in self-perception and behavior.

How Time Wellness Arkansas Treats Personality Disorders

Time Wellness Arkansas stands out in our treatment of personality disorders with personalized care plans tailored to the unique needs of each individual. Our approach combines traditional therapeutic techniques with innovative strategies to ensure comprehensive care.

Here’s how we make a difference:

  1. Customized treatment plans: We develop specific strategies that address the distinct symptoms and challenges of each client.
  2. Holistic care: Our treatment extends beyond symptom management, incorporating physical health, social well-being, and emotional balance.
  3. Empathetic environment: Our team is trained to provide support with deep empathy and understanding, creating a nurturing and non-judgmental environment.

At Time Wellness, our philosophy focuses on more than just managing symptoms; we aim to foster recovery and personal growth, helping individuals to not only cope but also to thrive. This commitment positions us as a leading provider of personality disorder treatment in Arkansas.

Woman supporting her friend.
At Time Wellness Arkansas, we approach our clients with empathy, recognizing the unique challenges they face.

Outpatient Treatment Program VS Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

Choosing the right mental health treatment program is crucial, and both outpatient and intensive outpatient programs offer valuable benefits. Each program offers unique benefits, making them suitable for different stages of treatment and personal circumstances. Here’s how each caters to different needs:

Outpatient Mental Health Arkansas:

  • Flexibility: Ideal for individuals who need to maintain their daily responsibilities like work or school while receiving treatment.
  • Support: Provides steady progress checks and therapy sessions, ensuring ongoing support without the need for daily visits.
  • Suitability: Best for those with a stable home environment and less severe symptoms.

IOP Mental Health in Arkansas:

  • Intensity: Offers a more structured therapy schedule than traditional outpatient services, without full-time hospitalization.
  • Comprehensive care: Includes multiple therapy sessions per week, providing a deeper level of care suitable for those with moderate to severe symptoms.
  • Community connection: Encourages peer support through group sessions, enhancing the healing process.

Moving Forward with Knowledge of NPD

Navigating life with narcissistic personality disorder, whether it’s personal experience or supporting someone who has it, can be complex. Knowing the symptoms and understanding the misconceptions are the first steps toward effective management and improvement. If you recognize these traits in yourself or someone close, seeking professional help can be a transformative decision. Mental health professionals can provide the necessary tools and strategies to cope with NPD. Remember, understanding and support can make a significant difference in managing this disorder and leading a more fulfilling life.