Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Narcissistic personality disorder



Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self.


The cause of this disorder is unknown. Narcissistic personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood.


A person with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Reacts to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
  • Takes advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
  • Has feelings of self-importance
  • Exaggerates achievements and talents
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Requires constant attention and admiration
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
  • Has obsessive self-interest
  • Pursues mainly selfish goals
Signs and tests

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome varies with the severity of the disorder.

Calling your health care provider

  • Relationship and family problems
  • Alcohol or other drug dependence

Psychotherapy may help the affected person relate to others in a more positive and compassionate manner.



Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Narcissistic personality disorder. In: Moore DP, Jefferson JW, eds. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 140.

Young JQ. Narcissistic personality disorder. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2008: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.

Review Date: 10/17/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Timothy A. Rogge, MD, private practice in Psychiatry, Kirkland, Washington. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Home Page
Why Choose Us
Website Terms of Use

Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us

Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking

Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |