A narcissist is someone who stares at his reflection so much that he ends up dying. The idea comes from the Greek mythological story of Narcissus. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) was first coined by Freud, and over time has changed meaning, leaving some confused about what the term means. Narcissus may come to mind when people think about what defines a narcissist. Another word might be conceited. An individual with a narcissistic personality disorder has an inflated sense of self-importance and is driven by the need for other people’s approval.

Disorders of Narcissism

There can be two main groups of symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder: self-destructive symptoms and interpersonal dysfunction symptoms. Self-functioning is impaired by NPD symptoms such as the need for external approval to gain self-worth and the ability to determine personal goals based on approval. Lack of empathy and difficulty forming intimate, meaningful relationships are symptoms of the narcissistic disorder that impair interpersonal functioning. Excessive attention-seeking and grandiosity are also indicative of NPD.

How can a doctor determine you have narcissism?

In general, those with personality disorders such as narcissism don’t seek treatment for them.

However, many people decide to seek treatment for depression because they feel upset when they think others think of them.

A mental health professional qualified to diagnose and treat people with this condition will be referred to you after you have discussed this with your doctor. Doctors make a diagnosis by observing what you are experiencing and looking at your personality traits that might indicate a particular narcissist personality disorder.

To help diagnose you, a mental health professional will need to see you and to hear from your family or others who are familiar with you on a personal level.

Supporting someone’s recovery with these strategies

Several strategies have been found to be useful and important by family, friends, and others with personality disorders:

  • Those who suffer from these conditions are susceptible to easily be taken in the wrong direction by words and actions. Whenever you get a bad reaction, try to clarify your meaning or intention. The person may have misinterpreted you, so you shouldn’t take their reactions personally.
  • You should attempt to learn about the condition, its treatment, and what you can do to help.
  • Contact an appropriate advocacy group or family support if you can. Most people find it a helpful way to acquire information about how to support a loved one, how to deal with difficulties, and how to access assistance.
  • Make sure that they continue their treatment and do not take drugs or alcohol.
  • You need to find ways to take a break from this too. Taking care of your own health is important.
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