Nowadays, however, when people ask what is the meaning of narcissism it is much more likely they are asking what is narcissistic personality disorder. It seems that there are more narcissists and psychopaths than ever before! Excessive selfishness has existed as long as man has roamed the earth but only in the last couple of hundred years has it been recognized in psychological circles.
It is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders under Personality Disorders. This category is reserved for those disorders which are life long problems and the symptoms or characteristics typically start in childhood. People with personality disorders usually fail to adapt well to society and cause various levels of disruption to those around them.
The answer to ‘What is narcissistic personality disorder?’ usually also involves much debate about whether this antisocial disorder is caused by genetic factors or environmental factors, and it may indeed be a combination of the two.
People with a narcissistic disorder rarely seek treatment. After all, if you thought you were superior to others and received admiration from those around you, would you think there was anything wrong? Treatment is often ineffective and may even make the situation worse. For example, a narcissist who ends up in group therapy simply learns more about human psychology and can use this to improve their manipulation skills!