How do I get help/support for narcissistic personality disorder?

Note: NAMI volunteers are not medical or mental health professionals, and we cannot offer medical or mental health advice.  The material outlined below is informational and we hope that it helps provide guidance toward getting support.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition that is characterized by a consistent pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of ability to empathize with others.  Those with this disorder are often perceived as being arrogant or haughty by others; they may frequently be preoccupied with their own accomplishments and abilities.  Other symptoms may include a sense of entitlement, exploitation or manipulation of others, and a belief that the person can only be understood by individuals or institutions as special as themselves. These symptoms generally begin in early adulthood and can be observed across all aspects of life such as work, family, and other relationships. Those who suffer from NPD are often easily upset by rejection or criticism, and strained family and interpersonal relationships are common.

To diagnose someone with NPD, a Mental Health Professional will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to judge whether the patient meets the criteria for this disorder.  Narcissism is a naturally occurring human trait and a certain amount can be healthy, but it can become a disorder when it negatively impacts functioning in areas such as work, relationships, and self-worth.

Treatment of this disorder centers around psychotherapy.  While there are no specific medications prescribed for NPD, medications may be prescribed for co-occurring disorders such as anxiety disorder or depression.  The grandiose nature of NPD may make it difficult for individuals to reach out for help. Finding a therapist who has been trained to work with those experiencing NPD can be a vital part of recovery.  Therapy generally involves helping those with the disorder develop a healthier sense of self by examining coping mechanisms and past experiences.  The goal for these patients is to learn how to empathize with themselves and others.

The following resources may be of help:

BPD Central is an organization that provides information on Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, including resources, treatment referrals, and online support groups.

Out of the Fog provides information and resources for caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with BPD or narcissistic personality disorder, including online discussion groups.

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