Narcissism No Longer a Psychiatric Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder, characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and the need for constant attention, has been eliminated from the upcoming manual of mental disorders, which psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness.

As Charles Zanor reports in today’s Science Times, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — due out in 2013 and known as D.S.M.-5 — has eliminated five of the 10 personality disorders that are listed in the current edition. The best known of these is narcissistic personality disorder.

It is a puzzle why the manual’s committee on personality disorders has decided to throw N.P.D. off the bus. Many experts in the field are not happy about it….One of the sharpest critics of the D.S.M. committee on personality disorders is a Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. John Gunderson, an old lion in the field of personality disorders and the person who led the personality disorders committee for the current manual.

Asked what he thought about the elimination of narcissistic personality disorder, he said it showed how “unenlightened” the personality disorders committee is. “They have little appreciation for the damage they could be doing.” He said the diagnosis is important in terms of organizing and planning treatment.

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