Narcissistic personality disorder involves a distorted self-image. Emotions can be unstable and intense, and there is excessive concern with vanity, prestige, power, and personal adequacy. There also tends to be a lack of empathy and an exaggerated sense of superiority.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is closely associated with egocentrism, a personality characteristic in which people see themselves and their interests and opinions as the only ones that really matter.

People with NPD have limited interest in the feelings of others. They lack empathy and are unable to feel or appreciate feelings that are not their own.

According to the United States' , a person with NPD has an excessive sense of self-importance, an intense preoccupation with themselves, and a lack of empathy for others.

Fast facts on NPD:

  • The term comes from a character in Greek mythology, called Narcissus.
  • It is characterized by an extreme sense of self-worth.
  • Other features include being quick to anger and prone to irritation.
  • For a diagnosis, the symptoms must be persistent and chronic.

There is no known cure for NPD. With psychotherapy, the individual may come to understand what causes their problems and learn how to relate more positively to others.

This may bring about a change in attitudes, resulting in more constructive behavior. It can help the person build up their self-esteem and acquire realistic expectations of themselves and others.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, or group therapy are types of psychotherapy. CBT helps the patient identify negative beliefs and behaviors, in order to replace them with healthful, positive ones.

Medication may help with some of the more distressing aspects of the condition.

A person with untreated NPD has a greater chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, of having depression, relationship problems, difficulties at work or school, and suicidal behaviors or thoughts.

A study published in found that males with NPD have higher levels of cortisol in their blood. Cortisol is a stress hormone. A person with NPD may have higher levels even when stress levels are low. High blood cortisol is linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems.