Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) falls under the DSM-V Cluster B of personality disorders. These are characterized by dramatic, unpredictable and intensely emotional reactions to stressors and external stimuli. NPD typically manifests starting in adolescence and early adulthood and may begin with an elevated sense of self-worth. Narcissists tend to exaggerate their skills, accomplishments, and compare themselves as more important and of a higher status than others.
While many people who do not have NPD can exhibit some of the features of this disorder from time to time, it is the perpetual, severe, and enduring nature of these traits in an individual that lead to a diagnosis of NPD. Unfortunately, the causes of NPD are unknown but it is purported that an interplay between innate and environmental factors following the biopsychosocial model are at the root of its development. There has been some evidence showing genetic traits that are more susceptible to developing NPD, however no specific gene or locus has been implicated at this time.
Treatment of this disorder is primarily through therapy. Individuals with NPD will typically seek treatment for life difficulties or a comorbid diagnosis at this which point the disorder will present itself to the treating provider who notices these pathological traits in an individual and seek to treat them for it. Treatment through psychotherapy is usually prolonged, due to the poor insight that those with NPD have, and there are currently no medications specifically tailored toward treating NPD.
If you have any questions or would like to talk to a psychiatrist about narcissism, please give us a call at 714.545.5550.