MSD Manual

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Quick Facts

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of feeling superior to other people, needing to be admired, and lacking empathy

People with narcissistic personality disorder often:

  • Think they're more important and special than other people

  • Exaggerate their own achievements and belittle other people's

  • Are very sensitive to any failure or criticism, which makes them angry or depressed

  • Fantasize about being very smart, beautiful, or important

  • Take advantage of others

  • Need constant praise and for people to look up to them

  • Envy others, and often think that others envy them

Lots of people are proud of their accomplishments. And nearly everyone likes to be praised and dislikes criticism. However, these kinds of traits become a disorder when people become angry or upset without constant praise, or when their inability to accept criticism and their need to belittle others causes problems at work or in relationships.

What causes narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is probably caused by both:

  • Your genes (the genetic information passed to you from your parents)

  • Your experiences and upbringing, such as the way your parents treated you

How do doctors treat narcissistic personality disorder?

Doctors treat narcissistic personality disorder with:

  • Therapy

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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