Narcissistic personality disorder
If a person suspects that he or she or a loved one is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, it is important to remember that the condition is treatable and seek the help of a professional as soon as possible.


What is Narcotic Personality Disorder (NPV)?

The common features of a narcissistic personality disorder are excessive preoccupation with self-esteem, power and display and the right statue in advance.

The person with an NPV seems to have a lot of confidence, but the difference between this disorder and "normality" comes in when the person's quality of life and relationships lead to it.

People who suffer from an NPV seem to have such a high level of self-esteem that they see themselves as better and more important than others. However, they have a characteristic low self-esteem and struggle to cope with criticism, which often causes them to try to compensate by belittling others. It is this “sadistic” characteristic that distinguishes an NPV from other conditions related to self-worth.

Did you know?

The disorder occurs in about three percent (3%) of the population, and more in men than in women.


What are the symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder?

The following symptoms are indicative, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM – 5), which is widely accepted as the most authoritative source worldwide. Please note Please note that an official diagnosis may only be made by a qualified person.

A sustained pattern of “excessive importance” in behavior or fantasies. The pattern involves a need for admiration for and a lack of empathy with other people, beginning in early adulthood and appearing in different situations. Five (5) or more the following symptoms must occur in the person:

  1. an excessive sense of self-interest; exaggerated emphasis on talents and achievements; an expectation of being considered superior / more important;
  2. an obsession with thoughts of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love;
  3. the belief that he / she is "special" and "unique" and can only associate with people of "high status";
  4. requires excessive admiration;
  5. a sense of self-entitlement (e.g. the expectation of being obeyed or treated as special;
  6. interpersonal exploitation, e.g. to abuse others for their own benefit;
  7. a lack of empathy; is unwilling and / or unable to identify with the feelings of others;
  8. envy others, and / or believe that others are envious of him / her; and / or
  9. appear arrogant and haughty in behavior or attitude.


Treatment of a narcissistic personality disorder

  1. Can a person with this diagnosis be cured?
    The general consensus at this stage is that personality disorders cannot be "cured" but can teach a person to better handle themselves and their relationships.
  2. Are there medications for this personality disorder?
    There is currently no medication prescribed for people diagnosed with NPO. Medication will only be considered if the person also shows other symptoms, e.g. depression or general anxiety.
  3. Can a clinical psychologist help change a person with narcissism, especially in a relationship context?
    Certain results can be achieved, but in general people who struggle with narcissism will not voluntarily consider psychological help simply because they will not admit that there is "wrong" with them.

    No one can “change” anyone else, but if a person with an NPV or indications does accept responsibility for their behavior, they can learn through (usually prolonged / intensive) therapy to better manage themselves.

  4. Who can diagnose someone with this personality disorder?
    Because an NPV is so complex, it can only be diagnosed by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. They are trained to distinguish between different disorders.


Advice for loved ones and family members who live or work with someone who has been diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder?

  1. Admit your irritation. People with NPV can be tremendously antagonistic. It may feel as if the person with an NPV is "getting under your skin". When you try to accomplish a task and the narcissist constantly interrupts your progress, acknowledge where your frustration comes from. It can empower you to identify the behavior and set boundaries.
  2. Understand where the behavior comes from. People with an NPV often have a problem with authority. Understand that it usually stems from uncertainty. By developing an understanding of this, you can give the person enough reassurance to calm him / her and shift their focus.
  3. Evaluate the context. Someone with an NPV does not have an “all-or-nothing personality”. Some situations may encourage the person to act defensively, vindictively and / or in need. All behavior is not always due to such a person's condition.
  4. Stay positive. It is important to know that people with an NPV who experience pleasure by emotionally hurting others are encouraged to repeat the behavior if they see that they are causing pain. Don't pay attention to it, even if you experience frustration. The less attention the challenging behavior gets, the less it will take place.
  5. Don't "derail" your own life and feelings. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose your own sense of value if you share your life with a narcissist. You don't have to pay attention to everything the person expects of you. Find a balance between the direction in which you want to move and the relief of a person with an NPV's insecurities and anxiety. You can recognize the narcissistic person's feelings, but still carry on with your day.
  6. Keep your sense of humor. You can challenge a person with an NPV's bravado (bluff). This can mean ignoring the behavior or even joking about it. Don't do this in a derogatory, hurtful or humiliating way, but you may point out the inappropriate nature of his or her behavior.
  7. Encourage psychotherapy. A person with an NPV often has low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Dealing with an NPV is not something you can do on your own - only a qualified person can help the person with this.


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If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, we suggest the following options:
  1. call your GP (if available);
  2. go to your nearest hospital emergency room;
  3. call one of the following emergency numbers: SADAG (the South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 24-hour helpline: 0800 456 789 or suicide crisis line: 0800 567 567; or
  4. contact Wie is ek?