Personality disorders are a group of conditions that affect people’s thoughts, behaviours and emotions in long-term negative patterns that occur in all areas of life.
People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may appear arrogant, with an inflated self-image and disregard for the feelings of others. This disorder can cause socially destructive behaviours that damage relationships.
NPD is part of the cluster of personality disorders with symptoms of intense and unstable emotions and a distorted self-image. It’s a rare disorder, affecting more men than women and is usually evident by early adulthood.
The nature of NPD symptoms means it’s hard for people who suffer from the disorder to realise they have a problem. When you believe you’re better than everyone else, why would you think there’s anything wrong? It is often the family or loved ones who are most aware of this problem and who also suffer the consequences.
However, if left untreated, NPD can affect a person’s work, social and family life. The state of someone’s relationships can be the biggest indicator. Psychotherapy can help people with NPD to understand themselves better, and relate to others more positively. With support and treatment, life can become more enjoyable for people with NPD and their loved ones.
Last reviewed: December 2016