Are Narcissism And Depression Connected?

By Michael Puskar

Updated September 26, 2019

Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault

In psychology and mental-health related circles, both narcissism and depression are regarded as pretty unhealthy states of existence. While narcissism and depression each have their causations and problems, questions can be raised about whether or not the two are connected. After all, both narcissism and depression are unhealthy - likewise, narcissism and depression each impact an individual's mental and emotional wellbeing. When taken to very extreme levels, narcissism and depression can both impede an individual's ability to function in the real world successfully.


However, to understand the connections between narcissism and depression, it is first imperative to know these two entities as individuals fully.

An Overview Of Narcissism

Narcissism is regarded by Psychology Today as "grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration." In many cases, individuals who suffer from narcissism also have various traits which are indicative of this behavior, such as arrogance, impatience, and the need to gain the approval of others. Narcissism also tends to manifest in the form of thinking that one is entitled to special treatment, which is not granted to others around them. In many cases, narcissists tend to try to prove that they are better than others around them and somehow superior.

Can Narcissism Be Cured Or Treated?

At this time, there is no one precise cure or treatment for narcissism. Unlike other mental health issues, narcissism prompts a very difficult challenge to treat. This is because narcissists typically do not believe they need treatment and can therefore not be aided. One of the foundations of any help or treatment is that the patient must be willing to improve and better themselves to overcome their condition. Even the best doctors in the world cannot help a person who is genuinely unwilling to be helped.

An Overview Of Depression

Depression is defined by the Mayo Clinic as "a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest." Individuals who struggle with depression often experience mental, emotional, and even physical impacts. This can impede their ability to function in day-to-day life and enjoy basic pleasures, such as workplace satisfaction and healthy relationships with others around them. Over the past few years, depression has been given more and more attention, thus allowing for this mood disorder to carry less of a stigma.


There are a plethora of symptoms associated with depression. These symptoms have the power to impact a suffering person all around the board. In many cases, depressive symptoms include, but are certainly not limited to, self-loathing, emotional outbursts, insomnia, notable fluctuations in weight, and so much more. The longer someone deals with depression and lacks access to the proper treatment, the more dangerous it can become. Back pains, headaches, inability to concentrate, and even thoughts of suicide are additional symptoms which are associated with depression.


In most cases, treatment for depression ultimately boils down to therapy or medication. Sometimes, a combination of both therapy and medication can prove to be beneficial for those who are going through depression. During therapy sessions, patients will work with a specialist who gets to know them and understand their situation. In turn, this allows the therapist to use their professional judgment to determine the root of the depression and what ought to happen next. For therapy to help a patient overcome depression, they have to be receptive to feedback and furthermore willing to accept the advice of the therapist.


Medication for depression can vary depending upon a variety of circumstances. While many people do benefit from this form of treatment, it's important to understand that medication should only be prescribed by a licensed doctor. Under no circumstances should someone who is not a licensed doctor attempt to self-medicate or provide medicine to someone who is going through depression. There are so many ways in which that can make a bad situation even worse.

The Connection Between Narcissism And Depression

Both narcissism and depression are neither healthy emotional/mental states of well-being, nor are they conducive to any individual's long-term success or happiness in life. A person who suffers from narcissism will eventually begin to self-sabotage, as will an individual who is dealing with depression.

Both narcissism and depression are clinical, serious health issues which require addressed to remedy them. However, it is typically easier to rehabilitate a depressed individual than a narcissist. Most people who suffer from depression are interested in improving themselves and making a change; however, the same cannot be said for those who are afflicted with narcissism.

Despite a few obvious contrasts between narcissism and depression, they still share certain commonalities. Understanding these commonalities is key to understanding the connection between narcissism and depression.

Low Self-Esteem

It's already been established that low self-esteem is a byproduct of depression. However, many people may also be shocked to learn that the majority of narcissists also suffer from low self-esteem. The only difference here is that narcissism is generally a front to mask the low self-esteem which lurks beneath the surface, as documented by Live Science. This does not mean that every single narcissist suffers from low self-esteem; however, it's not an uncommon affliction amongst narcissists.


While low self-esteem may be more apparent in cases of depression (withdrawing from others, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, etc.), narcissism can often mask low self-esteem as notable overconfidence. However, the symptoms associated with narcissism are generally a tell for low self-esteem, especially when someone engages in these behaviors frequently. The behaviors in question include an excessive need for admiration, the compulsion to feel superior to others, and feelings of entitlement.

One could easily make the case that a person with true confidence and high self-esteem would not feel the need to seek out validation from others habitually. That's not usually the mark of a secure individual.

Damage To Interpersonal Relationships

Another connection between narcissism and depression exists in the form of damage to interpersonal relationships. In many cases of depression, suffering individuals tend to isolate themselves, withdraw from activities they love, and otherwise behave in manners which are concerning to those around them. Believe it or not, not every person can recognize when someone is not acting like themselves because they are experiencing depression.

Now, narcissism also tends to erode personal relationships but differently. In many cases, narcissists are not above lying, bullying, and cheating to get what they want in life. Many narcissists also believe that the rules are for other people and they can do whatever they want. Over time, as people begin to realize this, they'll lose interest in being in the company of an individual who views others and the world in this manner. When the damage to interpersonal relationships is done, it's quite typical for narcissists to point the finger and assign blame, rather than looking at themselves.

Overall Take

The drawbacks associated with narcissism and depression are extremely well documented. Whether these impacts manifest in the form of low self-esteem or damage to relationships with others, both narcissism and depression are extremely low levels of toxicity. Both of these entities indicate that there is an issue with someone's mental and emotional health. Both narcissism and depression can also become the new norm if the suffering individual is not able to get the help they need.

At the end of the day, a person cannot truly and successfully function in society if they are dealing with extreme levels of narcissism or depression. There are many ways to hide the presence of these issues, but at the end of the day, the mask always falls off. This is why getting help when either narcissism or depression manifests is so significant. However, the willingness to receive help is what ultimately makes the greatest difference.

At The End Of The Day…

When someone is experiencing narcissism or depression, the best thing they can do is seek professional counsel and guidance. This can be helpful for any situations where someone is struggling, but it's especially significant in cases where mental health issues are present. When it's all said and done, nobody can force a narcissist or depressed individual to seek help. They have to want it for themselves, and they have to be receptive to the feedback and necessary changes which come along with self-betterment.

If you're struggling in any way, whether with narcissism, depression, or another matter and are interested in professional help, then you've come to the right place. BetterHelp online therapy has been proven to make a significant difference in people's lives, regardless of who they are or what they may be up against.


As long as you are open and willing to hear what your therapist has to say, the sky is the limit. This does not mean that you will never have tough days or hard times. However, what you will have is a professional in your corner who can be there for you and provide the guidance and feedback, which is necessary as you work to improve the quality of your life.

Previous Article

Mental Health Risks After A Concussion: Depression & Other Causes For Concern

Next Article

How PTSD And Depression Are Connected
You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.
Get Help & Support With Depression Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.