Narcissistic personality disorder

  • Definition
    • Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which a person has:

      • An excessive sense of self-importance
      • An extreme preoccupation with themselves
      • A lack of empathy for others
  • Alternative Names
    • Personality disorder - borderline; Narcissism

  • Causes
    • Cause of this disorder is unknown. Early life experiences, such as particularly insensitive parenting, are thought to play a role in the development of this disorder.

  • Symptoms
    • 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
  • Exams and tests
    • Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation. The health care provider will consider how long and how severe the person's symptoms are.

  • Treatment
    • Talk therapy may help the person relate to other people in a more positive and compassionate way.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Outcome of treatment depends on the severity of the disorder.

  • Possible Complications
    • Complications may include:

      • Alcohol or other drug dependence
      • Relationship, work, and family problems
  • References
    • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.

      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: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.