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Diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

2-minute read

If you or someone you know seems to be suffering from symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) the first step is to get an assessment. A doctor will do an initial mental health assessment and may carry out physical examinations to ensure no physical illness is causing the symptoms.

If no other cause is found, the doctor may refer to a psychiatrist or psychologist to help draw up a mental health care plan. They will talk to you, get to know you and ask you some questions to understand your history and how severe the symptoms are. Sometimes it may take weeks or months to be diagnosed.

To be diagnosed as having NPD, people must have:

  • an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • fantasies of great success, power, attractiveness or intelligence
  • believing themselves to be special, and only able to be understood by others who are also special
  • an increased sense of entitlement
  • a need for constant admiration or attention
  • taking advantage of others, envying others, or believing others envy them
  • arrogance or haughtiness
  • a lack of empathy

Diagnosis is the first step towards wellness. Your doctor can recommend treatment and support to help you take the next step towards recovery.

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) — call 1800 187 263.
  • beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) — online help.
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) — call 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.

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Last reviewed: December 2018

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