- Narcissist Definition
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of:
- Self-importance (grandiosity)
- A constant need for admiration and attention
- A lack of empathy for others
What Are Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines narcissistic personality disorder as one that has:
- A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior)
- A constant need for admiration
- A lack of empathy
The above personality traits begin by early adulthood and are manifested by at least 5 of the following 9 criteria:
- An extreme sense of self-importance
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
- A lack of empathy
- This lack of empathy means a narcissist cannot really love you
- Narcissists do not experience and show love in the sense that most people do
- They do not care about the happiness of others except as it relates to them
- They are really only concerned about their own happiness and needs
- Some seem to find “love” but are really only seeking a practical arrangement for their own needs or are chasing perfection and once they see flaws, they will end the relationship
- A need for excessive admiration
- A sense of entitlement
- Exploitive behavior of others
- Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
- Arrogance and haughty behaviors or attitudes
What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown but it may be the result of a combination of biological, social, environmental, and psychological factors.
It is believed an unhealthy early parent-child relationship may be a significant factor in the development of the disorder.
There does not seem to be a genetic link to narcissistic personality disorder.
How Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosed?
Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed with a psychological evaluation.
Before arriving at a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, other personality disorders with similar characteristics must first be ruled out, such as:
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
There are no specific lab tests used to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, but a toxicology screen may be used to rule out use/abuse of drugs and alcohol as the cause of the behaviors.
Personality tests may also be use to help make the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, such as:
- Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire–4 (PDQ-4)
- Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCMI-III)
- International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE)
What Is the Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder often involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
There are no specific medications used to treat narcissistic personality disorder, but medicines may help relieve some symptoms or treat other co-existing mental illnesses.
Medications that may be used to treat symptoms of other mental illnesses include:
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