Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with themselves.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The causes of this disorder are unknown. An overly sensitive personality and parenting problems may affect the development of this disorder.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:
React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
Have excessive feelings of self-importance
Exaggerate achievements and talents
Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
Need constant attention and admiration
Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
Have obsessive self-interest
Pursue mainly selfish goals
Signs and tests
Like other personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
Psychotherapy (for example, talk therapy) may help the affected person relate to other people in a more positive and compassionate way.
The outcome depends on the severity of the disorder.
Alcohol or other drug dependence
Relationship, work, and family problems
Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadellphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2008:chap 39.
Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.