Brent Woods, MA, LPC
Diagnosing Narcissism: Are we Throwing Around the Term Narcissist too Often?
Narcissism is a term used to describe someone with an excessive admiration for themselves or a preoccupation with their own physical appearance, success, or power. While someone may have narcissistic tendencies, this does not necessarily mean they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Narcissistic tendencies can refer to someone who has a strong sense of self-importance, vanity, or grandiosity. Those with narcissistic tendencies may be more likely to take advantage of others, put themselves first, and have an exaggerated sense of entitlement. While they may be more narcissistic than the average person, they may not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with NPD.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychiatric condition more serious than narcissistic tendencies. To be diagnosed with NPD, a person must meet the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This includes having a grandiose sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, a lack of empathy for others, and a preoccupation with fantasies of power or success. People with NPD often display arrogant, haughty, and manipulative behavior. It is important to note that many people with narcissistic tendencies do not meet the criteria for NPD.
The treatment for narcissistic tendencies and NPD also varies. Many people with narcissistic tendencies may benefit from counseling with a trauma therapist, who can help them to recognize patterns of behavior and learn healthier ways of relating to others. People with NPD may require more intensive treatment such as psychotherapy, medication, or hospitalization.
In conclusion, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition with a range of characteristics, including a grandiose sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, a lack of empathy for others, and a preoccupation with fantasies of power or success. Though many people may display narcissistic tendencies, not everyone meets the criteria for a diagnosis of NPD. Treatment for this condition varies, and may include psychotherapy, medication, or hospitalization. It is important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional if you or someone you know is showing signs of NPD.