Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

How is narcissistic personality disorder diagnosed?

Many providers of health care may help make the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, including pediatricians, primary-care providers, licensed mental-health therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. As part of this examination, the sufferer will likely be referred for a full physical examination and laboratory tests in an attempt to rule out any medical condition that may contribute to the symptoms described. The person with NPD may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help assess the presence of the illness. Thorough exploration for any history or presence of mental-health symptoms will be conducted such that narcissistic personality disorder can be distinguished from other personality disorders like histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder. The mental-health professional will also explore whether other forms of mental illness are present, since narcissism is often also associated with depression or perfectionism. In addition to demonstrating a pattern of grandiose thoughts or behaviors, need for admiration, and lack of empathy for others characterized by at least five of the previously described symptoms, other diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include the sufferer's pattern of such behaviors being pervasive throughout the person's life, as well as stable, longstanding symptoms that are not better explained by another mental illness, the effects of a substance, or a medical condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2015

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