top of page

Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder a Mental Illness

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

Green hoodie with red question mark asking is narcissistic personality disorder a mental illness

Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder a Mental Illness?

Should You Hold Your Abuser Responsible?

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

People often ask me, "Is narcissistic personality disorder a mental illness?" The answer is yes. It is categorized that way by mental health professionals.

Their follow-up response is usually, “Well, if these people are mentally ill, how can we hold them responsible for their behavior.”

To be mentally ill is to have a disturbed mind. The minds of pathological narcissists are no doubt disturbed. But it is the degree of disturbance that determines what they can and cannot control. Those who are able to control their behavior are accountable for it.

Though narcissists are mentally unwell, they are not insane. It often does not appear so, but narcissists have full control of their faculties and are deliberate in their actions. To be classified as insane, a person must not be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Narcissists’ realities are skewed, but these people are fully engaged and present in the real world.

Those who are insane cannot control their urges. Narcissists can and do control their urges, though it often does not seem so. They know