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Narcissistic personality disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others.

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 that assesses the history and severity of the symptoms.

Treatment

Talk therapy may help the affected 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

  • Alcohol or other drug dependence
  • Relationship, work, and family problems

References

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

Update Date 11/10/2012

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