Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What is the treatment for narcissistic personality disorder?

The primary treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is talk therapy (psychotherapy) rather than medication. However, medication may be appropriate to address some co-occurring mental-health symptoms like depression, irritability, or anxiety. Psychotherapy tends to focus on how the person with the disorder interacts with the therapist during therapy, examining and changing grandiose and excessively vulnerable thinking, teaching the sufferer ways to regulate their emotions, and correcting self-centered behaviors to more prosocial ways of interacting with others.

What is the prognosis of narcissistic personality disorder?

How well or poorly people with narcissistic personality disorder progress over time seems to be influenced by how severe the disorder is at the time that treatment starts, the state of the individual's current personal relationships, whether or not the sufferer has a history of being abused as a child, as well as whether or not the person receives appropriate treatment. Simultaneously suffering from other mental-health problems has been found to be associated with a lower likelihood of symptoms of NPD being alleviated with treatment. One of the major obstacles to treatment and therefore to a good prognosis for narcissistic individuals is the perception by these individuals that their problems are caused by others rather than by their own self-centered tendencies.

Is it possible to prevent narcissistic personality disorder?

Societal interventions like prevention of child abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse in families can help decrease the occurrence of a number of very different mental-health problems, including narcissistic personality disorder.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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