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Having healthy self-esteem and self-worth is good for us, but having a grandiose self-image and exaggerating your own value and importance can be problematic. In this article, we want to give you an overview of what it can mean and how to get help.

What is a grandiose self-image?

A grandiose self-image means that you have an exaggerated sense of your own importance or value. Having a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-worth is fundamental to well-being, but in the case of a grandiose self-image, this is not realistic based on situations, nor is it functional, which can lead to problems both for you and those around you.

A grandiose self-image can be part of other psychiatric diagnoses such as severe bipolar disorder and it is one of the key features of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It can also be part of delusions in psychotic illness. These problems require specialized psychiatric care.

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What is a personality disorder?

Personality disorders are complex conditions that affect an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in ways that often differ markedly from societal norms and expectations.

As people with personality disorders may have difficulty relating to others, this can lead to problems in both personal and professional relationships.

How common are personality disorders?

It is difficult to give exact figures, as many people with personality disorders go undiagnosed and untreated, but a study by the Irish Health Research Board National Drugs Library (2021) estimated that with a prevalence of approximately 1%, there are 28, 725 individuals with BPD in Ireland.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition with alternating periods of depression and mania or a mixture of the two. These fluctuations can be so extreme that they interfere with a person’s daily life and functioning. The condition comes in different forms with type 1 being the more severe form with mania while type 2 is milder with more hypomanic and depressive symptoms.


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How common is bipolar disorder?

About 2-3% of the Swedish population has bipolar disorder.

What is psychotic illness?

Psychotic illness, often just called psychosis, is a psychiatric condition in which a person has difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is not. It is characterized by changes in thought processes, perception and behaviour. Psychosis is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom that can occur in various mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, or as a result of certain medical conditions or substance use. It is possible to have a grandiose self-image if you have psychosis.

Treatment for grandiose self-image

Treatment for a grandiose self-image initially involves an assessment by a licensed professional to ensure that the right care is given. As a grandiose self-image can be part of different types of mental illness and disease, this needs to be assessed first. There can be significant differences in treatment between narcissism, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.


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Treatment of narcissistic personality disorder

The treatment of narcissism, especially in the case of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), can be longer but there is room for improvement. There is no specific medication that cures NPS so psychotherapy is the primary method of treatment. Treatment goals often include helping the individual to better understand their feelings and behaviors, develop healthier relationships, and manage any co-occurring mental health issues. There are various treatment methods that can be helpful such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, schema therapy, group therapy, family therapy and medication. Treatment for personality disorders is mainly in specialist psychiatry.

Treatment of bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders

Bipolar and psychotic disorders are treated in specialist psychiatry and are not something we do at Lavendla. Treatment usually includes medication, but also psychological treatment. Family members can also receive support as part of the treatment. In addition, it is important that the therapy is adapted to the individual’s specific needs and situation. As these conditions can be severe, it is not uncommon for people with acute illnesses to be admitted to inpatient care. If you or someone you know is experiencing manic or delusional behavior, you can call 112 or go to an emergency psychiatric hospital.

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When you feel it’s time to talk to a psychologist or therapist, you can easily book a session with us. No matter when you take the step, our experienced team is always ready to help you or your loved ones. If the situation is urgent, call 112 or contact the emergency psychiatric service.


12 frequently asked questions about grandiose self-image

What is a grandiose self-image?

A grandiose self-image means that you have an exaggerated sense of your own importance or value. Having a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-worth is fundamental to well-being, but in a grandiose self-image this is not realistic based on situations, nor is it functional, which can lead to problems both for you and those around you.

What is a personality disorder?

A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of behavior, worldview and inner experience that is markedly different from what is expected of those around you. This is because personality disorders can affect one’s ability to relate to others and function effectively in everyday life.

Is narcissism a type of personality disorder?

Yes, narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types. Individuals with narcissism have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy towards other people.

How is narcissism diagnosed?

Diagnosis of narcissism is usually carried out by a psychiatrist or psychologist and involves an in-depth interview and interviews with family members. This is usually done in specialist psychiatry.

What treatment options are available for personality disorders?

Treatment can vary depending on the type of disorder and the individual’s unique needs, but usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. A care plan involving several different therapists or psychologists is often recommended.

How can I help someone close to me who has a grandiose self-image?

The most important step is to encourage the person to seek professional help. You can also offer emotional support, but remember that you are not a substitute for qualified care.

Can grandiose self-image occur in other mental health conditions?

Grandiose self-image can occur in conditions such as during mania in bipolar disorders or as part of psychosis in other psychotic disorders. If you have symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Can you force someone to go to therapy?

No, you cannot force someone to undergo therapeutic treatment, but in the case of more severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders, compulsory inpatient treatment can be used to prevent self-harm.

How to treat a grandiose self-image?

First, an assessment by a licensed professional, often a specialist psychiatrist, is needed. Treatment then often includes medication and therapy.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition with alternating periods of depression and mania or a mixture of the two. These alternations can be so extreme that they disrupt a person’s daily life and functioning.

How common is bipolar disorder?

About 1% of the Irish population has bipolar disorder.

What is psychosis?

Psychotic illness, often just called psychosis, is a psychiatric condition in which a person has difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is not. Psychosis is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom that can occur in various mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, or as a result of certain medical conditions or substance use.

Where can I go if I or someone I know has symptoms of grandiose self-image?

To get help, you should contact your health care center to get a referral to specialist psychiatry. It is possible to get help with.


Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.