The doctor's have a name for it - a real mental disease!

DSM IV The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition, used by medical doctors to help them diagnose mental disorder, helped me understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Later I found that Dr. John Ratey of Harvard Medical School had written a book on the Shadow Syndrome. Everyone have some symptoms of mental illness, so slight that they do not make us sick, but enough to make us different. There are many kinds of personality disorders, just as there are combinations of disorders (called co morbidity). Some symptoms are caused by disease or other factors; only a trained medical professional can use the DSM IV, and can make an accurate differential diagnosis.

Many people have characteristics of narcissists , as well as other personality disorders, and that is part of being human. In fact in Albert J. Bernstein's book, Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, he writes that there may be narcissism without success, but there is no success without narcissism.

DSM IV definition: Someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) has at least 5 of the following characteristics:

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes 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)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Associated Features: Depressed Mood Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality

Differential Diagnosis Some disorders have similar or even the same symptom.

Histrionic Personality Disorder;
Antisocial Personality Disorder;
Borderline Personality Disorder;
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder;
Schizotypal Personality Disorder;
Paranoid Personality Disorder;
Manic Episodes;
Hypomanic Episodes;
Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition;
Symptoms that may develop in association with chronic substance use.

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Narcissistic Personality Symptoms

  1. grandiosity / exaggeration
  2. fantastic thinking / romantic
  3. believes special / unique
  4. requires admiration
  5. entitled / demanding
  6. exploitive / manipulative
  7. lacks empathy
  8. envious / jealous
  9. arrogant / haughty

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