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narcissistic personality disorder, NPD
A psychiatric diagnosis characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance and uniqueness, an abnormal need for attention and admiration, preoccupation with grandiose fantasies concerning the self, and disturbances in interpersonal relationships, usually involving the exploitation of others and a lack of empathy for anyone else.

The American Psychiatric Association recently announced that it is considering lifting "narcissistic personality disorder"; along with four other personality disorders; from its highly influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The current theory seems to be that narcissism is caused by very early influential deprivation, yet the clinical material tends to describe narcissists as unwilling rather than unable to change, and so the treating of narcissistic behaviors is more a volitional condition; that is, narcissism is termed a personality disorder, but it tends to be considered by some therapists as a character disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is considered to be a severe impairment when a person's self-centered or egotistical behavior results in:

  • Staying in bed all day.
  • Totally alienating or avoiding friends and family.
  • Severe risk of harming oneself or others; such as, failing to maintain personal hygiene; persistent danger of suicide, abuse, or crime.
—Compiled from the following sources:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994.

Psychiatric Dictionary by Robert J. Campbell;
Oxford University Press; New York; 1996; page 531.

"It's All About Me: But Is Narcissism A Disorder?"
by NPR STAFF; December 11, 2010; National Public Radio.
This entry is located in the following unit: narciss-, narcis- + (page 1)