Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Narcisistic Personality Disorder Diagnosis, Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis, Narcissistic Diagnosis, Narcissist Diagnosis, Histrionic Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

Some of the traits of narcissism are considered to be common and part of a normal developmental process. Once there is a failure, however, on the interpersonal relationship with the environment that continues to adulthood with intensified behavioral characteristics, narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed. 5

Once signs and symptoms of a narcissist are manifested, a psychological evaluation test is often carried out. But a medical history and physical examination is also a part of the routine when trying to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder in order to rule out other physical illnesses that can cause the disorder. There is no laboratory examination carried out to diagnose narcissism but the physician may use diagnostic tools such as x-rays and blood test to rule out other illnesses. 6 Once physical causes are ruled out by the physician the person is then referred to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or health care professionals of mental disorders. They use specially designed interview and assessment tools in order to evaluate personality disorders. Some of the features of narcissistic personality disorder are similar to other forms of personality disorders and can possibly occur along with other mental and psychological illnesses. Clinicians ensure to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder as accurately as possible through following the criteria set forth by the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM):

  • Requires constant admiration
  • Exaggerated sense of self importance
  • Pre-occupied with fantasies about success, beauty, and power
  • Believe they are special and only associate with equally special people
  • Having the sense of entitlement
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Being envious to others
  • Inability to recognize the feelings of others – lack of empathy
  • Behaving in an arrogant manner

The failure to diagnose the condition can lead to other possible complications such as:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Eating disorders especially anorexia nervosa
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Problems in work and school

Making a diagnosis for narcissistic personality disorder can often times be difficult due to the fact that narcissists do not come to therapists because they sufficiently function well, and that they always lie about themselves. Moreover, the traits of a narcissist can also be accompanied by other mental disorders such as borderline personality disorder (prevalent to female narcissists) and anti-social personality disorder (prevalent in male narcissists).

Diagnostic Tests

The diagnosis for narcissistic personality disorder is comprised of using various sources of information such as family history, patient history, and the use of diagnostic questionnaires. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Disorders (SCID-II) is used in the process of differential diagnosis of the condition. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory is the most common diagnostic instrument for narcissism. It consists of 223 items of paired statements one reflecting a narcissistic trait and the other a non-narcissistic trait.

Could You Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder – Deceit, Manipulation, Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Dysphoria, Lying and Stealing, Poor Behavioral Control
Borderline Personality Disorder – Disturbed Personality, Unstable Personal Relationships, Mood Instability, Schizophrenia, Manic Depression, Mood Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder – Attention Seeking, Excessive Emotionality, Dramatic, Self Centeredness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Obsession of Perfection, Compulsive Personality, Perfectionist, Obsession of Following Rules