Does a narcissist have a mental disorder? (9 signs)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does a narcissist have a mental disorder?” and explore narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder and the classification of various mental disorders to help understand the answer. 

Does a narcissist have a mental disorder?

Yes, a narcissist has a mental disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of the numerous personality disorders recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as a mental disease characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, desire for admiration, and lack of empathy.

The manifestation of the following 9 signs indicate that a narcissist has a mental disorder –

  • Grandiosity.
  • Excessive need for admiration.
  • Superficial and exploitative relationships.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Identity disturbance.
  • Attachment and dependence problems.
  • Feelings of emptiness and dullness on a regular basis.
  • Vulnerability to life changes.
  • Suicide and suicidal ideation. 

What are these 9 signs that indicate that a narcissist has a mental disorder?

Narcissists are arrogant, self-centred, demanding, and manipulative. However, the severity and breadth of these symptoms may vary from person to person. The beginning of narcissistic personality disorder occurs in early adulthood.

The following are the 9 signs – known as fundamental characteristics – of narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism). A person may be diagnosed with narcissism if they exhibit five or more of the following characteristics and would be considered to be a narcissist who has a mental disorder.

Grandiosity.

  • Narcissists have an excessive feeling of self-importance.
  • Narcissists feel superior to others and think that they deserve preferential treatment.
  • A narcissist’s feelings are frequently accompanied by illusions of boundless prosperity, brilliance, power, beauty, or love.

Excessive need for admiration.

  • It is necessary for a narcissist to be the centre of attention.
  • Narcissists frequently monopolise conversations
  • Narcissists, when neglected, feel slighted, abused, drained, and angered.

Superficial and exploitative relationships.

  • Narcissists’ relationships are built on superficial characteristics rather than the unique features of others.
  • People are only appreciated by narcissists to the extent that they are perceived to be useful.

Lack of empathy.

  • The ability to care for the emotional needs or experiences of others particularly loved ones is severely limited or completely absent in narcissists.

Identity disturbance.

  • The sense of self of a narcissist is relatively shallow, extremely inflexible, and frequently weak.
  • Maintaining the belief that one is extraordinary is necessary for self-stability for a narcissist.
  • A narcissist’s grandiose concept of self is easily jeopardised.
  • Narcissists avoid or ignore realities that call their grandiosity into question.

Attachment and dependence problems.

  • Narcissists depend on environmental feedback.
  • Narcissists’ relationships exist solely to support a healthy self-image.
  • Narcissists’ interactions are fleeting.
  • Intimacy is forbidden by narcissists.

Feelings of emptiness and dullness on a regular basis.

  • When narcissists do not receive attention and appreciation, they feel empty, bored, sad, or restless.

Vulnerability to life changes.

  • Narcissists have difficulty sticking to realistic personal and professional objectives throughout time.
  • Compromises demanded by education, work, and relationships can be excruciating for narcissists.
  • Narcissists may experience “failure to launch” in young adulthood.

Suicide and suicidal ideation. 

  • Narcissists have increased tendencies for suicide and suicidal ideation due to narcissistic personality disorder.

What is the difference between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Healthy Narcissism?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as a mental disease.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of the numerous personality disorders recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as a mental disease characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, desire for admiration, and lack of empathy. 

People may identify NPD with arrogance, cockiness, and manipulation, and while these are signs of NPD, not everyone who exhibits these traits has NPD.

Personality Type Narcissistic People with the illness may experience difficulties in many aspects of their lives, including relationships, employment, and education. 

When people with NPD do not receive the attention or appreciation they believe they deserve in various areas of their lives, they may become unhappy and disappointed. 

They may get dissatisfied if they do not receive constant attention in their relationships, and if they do not receive praise at work, they may grow resentful or desire to quit their present position.

NPD makes life difficult since the person suffering from it is constantly on the defensive. People with NPD frequently feel offended or ridiculed even when no one is doing so on purpose, and they lack empathy. 

They want others to sympathise with them, yet they do not feel the same way about others. As a result, relationships can be challenging for those with NPD.

It is critical to distinguish between self-confidence and self-love and narcissistic personality disorder. Having a strong sense of self-esteem is not the same as being diagnosed with a mental illness

There is such a thing as healthy narcissism, as long as the person understands that their high esteem for themselves is the consequence of their hard work and is founded on actual accomplishments. Healthy narcissism enables people to acquire self-esteem and self-worth. 

Narcissism becomes clinical when someone believes they should get praise and awards simply for existing, and when they do not receive the attention they believe they deserve, they become defensive or blame others for their failings. People with NPD are notoriously difficult to criticise.

Most people will exhibit some narcissistic qualities at some time in their lives, although being diagnosed with NPD is uncommon. According to the DSM-V, NPD affects between 0.5 and 1% of the population. 

The word narcissist is used loosely, but it is crucial to understand that there is a distinction between a narcissist and a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is a mental condition, whereas narcissism is an adjective used to describe someone who shows egotistical and selfish conduct.

In our selfie-obsessed, celebrity-driven world, the term narcissism is frequently used to characterise someone who appears excessively conceited or full of themselves. 

However, in psychological terms, narcissism does not imply true self-love. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are more accurately described as being in love with an idealised, grandiose picture of themselves. 

And they adore their inflated self-image because it helps them to escape real emotions of insecurity. However, maintaining their delusions of grandeur demands a significant amount of effort—which is where dysfunctional attitudes and actions come into play.

A pattern of self-centred, arrogant thinking and conduct, a lack of empathy and respect for others, and an obsessive desire for praise characterise narcissistic personality disorder. 

Others frequently describe persons with NPD as arrogant, manipulative, self-centred, pompous, and demanding. This pattern of thinking and acting manifests itself in every aspect of the narcissist’s life, from job and friendships to family and romantic connections.

Even when their conduct is causing them issues, people with narcissistic personality disorder are highly resistant to change it. They have a tendency to place blame on others. 

Furthermore, they are highly sensitive and respond negatively to even little critiques, arguments, or perceived slights, which they see as personal assaults. People in the narcissist’s life frequently find it simpler to just comply with their demands in order to escape the coldness and rages. 

However, by learning more about narcissistic personality disorder, you will be able to identify narcissists in your life, defend yourself from their power plays, and set better boundaries.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Does a narcissist have a mental disorder?” and reviewed narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder and the classification of various mental disorders to help determine if a a narcissist has a mental disorder. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder a Mental Illness? The Recovery Village. (2021, November 15). Retrieved from  https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/narcissistic-personality-disorder/is-npd-a-mental-illness/#:~:text=Yes.,admiration%20and%20lack%20of%20empathy.

Narcissistic personality disorder. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, November 18). Retrieved from  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9742-narcissistic-personality-disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. WebMD. (2020, June 18). Retrieved from  https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/narcissistic-personality-disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Healthline Editorial Team. (2020, January). Retrieved from  https://www.healthline.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder

Smith, M.  & Robinson, L. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (2021, October). Retrieved from  https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder.htm

Gregory, C. &  Soriano, K. Tell Me All I Need to Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.psycom.net/personality-disorders/narcissistic/

Narcissistic personality disorder. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (2022, March 16). Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

Cunha, J. P. What Are the Nine Traits of a Narcissist? (2020, October 8). Retrieved from  https://www.emedicinehealth.com/what_are_the_nine_traits_of_a_narcissist/article_em.htm

Cherry, K. What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? (2020, November 20). Retrieved from  https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-narcissistic-personality-disorder-2795446

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment