Narcissistic medical definition

definition of narcissism by Medical dictionary



dominant interest in oneself; self-love. adj., adj narcissis´tic.

primary narcissism that occurring in the early infantile phase of object relationship development, when the child has not differentiated himself from the outside world and regards all sources of pleasure as originating within himself.

secondary narcissism that in which the libido, once attached to external love objects, is redirected back to the self.

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(nar'sis-izm, nar'si-sizm),

1. A state in which one interprets and regards everything in relation to oneself and not to other people or things.
See also: autoeroticism.

2. Self-love, which may include sexual attraction toward oneself.
See also: autoeroticism. Compare: autosynnoia.

Synonym(s): self-love

[Narkissos, G. myth. char.]

Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012




1. Excessive preoccupation with or admiration of oneself.

2. A personality disorder characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Also called narcissistic personality disorder.

3. Pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, considered in psychoanalytic theory to be a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.

nar′cis·sist n.

nar′cis·sis′tic adj.

nar′cis·sis′ti·cal·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A term with a wide range of meanings, most or all of which include an obsessive focus on oneself and one’s needs and wants, to the virtual exclusion of other people.

Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.



1. Sexual attraction toward one's own person.

2. A state in which the person interprets and regards everything in relation to himself or herself and not to other people or things.
Synonym(s): self-love.

[Narkissos, G. myth. char.]

Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Possession of an exaggerated and exhibitionistic need for admiration and praise and an overweening conviction of one's own merits and attractiveness. Narcissus, a character in Greek mythology, was a youth who fell in love with his own reflection in a pond.

Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Greek mythological youth who refused all offers of love.

narcissism - self-love, which may include sexual attraction toward oneself. Synonym(s): self-love

Medical Eponyms © Farlex 2012



1. State in which one interprets everything in relation to oneself and not to other people or things.

2. Self-love, which may include sexual attraction to oneself.

[Narkissos, G. myth. char.]

Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about narcissism

Q. Is narcissism misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or autism? Is narcissism misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or autism? It would seem to me that Bipolar and some forms of Autism are equally likely to be misdiagnosed as NPD.

A. well...what do you know...i didn't even know there's a connection between the two...the seeing your question made me wanna check it up. and i found this article:

it says that there are narcissistic behavior amongst bipolar patients.

More discussions about narcissism

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnosis, Causes, Treatments

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Relationships
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosis
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder Causes and Risk Factors
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment
  • Living With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is one of several personality disorders. People with this condition have an inflated idea of themselves and a need for lots of attention from other people. 

It’s human nature to be selfish and boastful now and then, but true narcissists take it to an extreme. They also don’t value others’ feelings or ideas and ignore others’ needs.

But there’s a difference between being self-absorbed -- often called a narcissist -- and having narcissistic personality disorder. NDP is a mental illness.

If you can recognize a few of the traits below, that’s someone who’s self-absorbed. If they have most of them, they might have the disorder. 

People with NPD may not have high self-esteem. Their NPD may be more related to feelings of entitlement. A therapist can get to the bottom of it.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

The word comes from a Greek myth in which a handsome young man named Narcissus sees his own reflection in a pool of water and falls in love with it.  

Someone with narcissistic personality disorder might:

  • Upset other people often
  • Struggle to keep relationships
  • Put themself first
  • Think they know the “right” way
  • Think about themself most of the time and talk about themself a lot
  • Crave attention and admiration
  • Exaggerate their talents and achievements
  • Believe they’re special
  • Set unrealistic goals
  • Have wide, fast mood swings
  • Have a hard time taking others’ feelings seriously
  • Strive to win, whatever it takes
  • Fantasize about unlimited success, money, and power

Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Relationships

NPD causes problems in many areas of life and in close relationships. These interpersonal issues are often driven by symptoms of NPD, including:

  • Easily hurt
  • Overreacts
  • Can’t take criticism
  • Makes excuses for own flaws or failings
  • Refuses to take responsibility
  • Attempts to sway or manipulate others
  • Hypercompetitive
  • Only associates with people deemed to be on “their level”
  • Reacts with rage
  • Shames others
  • Emotionally neglectful
  • Doesn’t listen
  • Interrupts often

Someone like this may appear to have high self-esteem, but sometimes the opposite is true. There may be a deep sense of insecurity underneath the grand exterior. Someone can be narcissistic and not have the disorder. They may be self-absorbed and hypercompetitive, but not to the extent that it disrupts their daily life.

It’s proven that people are often drawn to narcissists and find them attractive, charismatic, and exciting. Confidence can be charming. Successful leaders often have narcissistic qualities.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Diagnosis

There are no lab tests to confirm a mental disorder. Many professionals use the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a list of 40 questions that measures things such as how much attention and power someone craves.

Personality disorders are longstanding, ingrained, dysfunctional patterns of thinking, behaving and relating to other people. These signs can show up as early as age 8, when children start to become aware of how people react to them. People with narcissistic personality disorder tend not to perceive that they themselves may have a mental health problem, and thus may be less likely to seek evaluation or treatment.

A recent study at Ohio State University says many people readily admit to being a narcissist. But while narcissism may be common, narcissistic personality disorder is rare.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause is not known. Like most mental and personality disorders, it’s likely due to a complex combination of factors including:

  • Genes
  • Environment, including parent-child relationships
  • Neurobiology (the connection between your behavior and your nervous system)

People whose parents put them on a pedestal and showered them with endless praise may be at higher risk for NPD, a recent study found. Then again, the opposite is true, too. Children who are ignored or abused may develop NPD almost as a survival instinct. They may feel they need to look out for themselves because no one else will.

NPD happens more in males than females. It usually shows up in teens or young adults. Keep in mind that children -- and really anyone -- can act in ways that seem narcissistic at times. This doesn’t usually mean they have NPD or will develop it later.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment

There is no cure, but therapy can help. The goal is to build up the person’s poor self-esteem and have more realistic expectations of others. Treatment usually centers on talk therapy. Sometimes people call this psychotherapy.

Talk therapy can help a person with NPD relate to other people better and understand their feelings and behaviors. Talk therapy can help a person with NPD to:

  • Accept and maintain relationships with other people, including co-workers
  • Recognize their own strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn to accept criticism or failures
  • Develop more realistic goals

Let go of unrealistic goals and desires There aren’t drugs to treat this mental disorder, but depression and anxiety sometimes go hand in hand with narcissism, and there are helpful drugs for those conditions.

If the narcissist abuses alcohol or drugs, which is common, it’s important to get treatment for the addictions, too.

With children, experts suggest that parents who give too much praise cut back, while those who don’t pay enough attention step up.

Narcissists can learn how to relate to others in more positive ways, but it depends on how open they are to critical feedback and how willing they are to change.


Living With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If you have NPD, it may be tempting not to stick with treatment. Here are tips to seeing it through:

  • Keep an open mind
  • Focus on your goals and the rewards of treatment
  • Keep your appointments and follow your doctor’s advice
  • Get help for any addictions or other mental health problems

If you are living with or in a close relationship with a person with NPD, here are tips to taking care of yourself:

  • Set boundaries
  • Don’t get caught up in their way of viewing you
  • Be prepared for the relationship to change
  • Don’t take it personally
  • Let go of any need for approval from the person with NPD
  • Look for other people who will support you
  • Look for other sources of meaning and fulfillment in your life

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Narcissism is excessive, pathological narcissism that has no real basis. The "Narcissus" lives in a deep and unshakable conviction that he is morally, intellectually and culturally superior to all other representatives of humanity. His talents, in his opinion, are indisputable and unique. And the fact that he still remains in the shadow of the greats of this world is the result of the envy of others, their desire to “lower” the narcissist to their low level and equalize him with the gray mass. But for completeness of understanding, the syndrome of narcissism should be considered from two angles. nine0004

In the first one, it will appear as a personality dysfunction — a condition in which inner harmony and full interaction with the outside world are impossible. A person with the syndrome of narcissism is in constant confrontation with internal beliefs and socio-cultural norms, which leads his mental state to an extremely unstable format. As a result, social maladjustment develops, a person is forced to isolate himself from the outside world, and without treatment, the severity of his condition gradually increases. From another perspective, narcissism can be seen as a "borderline" character trait. It still fits within the norm, but at the same time it makes a person react to various events in a very specific way, which prevents the “narcissist” from adapting to the environment in which he lives, does not allow him to build healthy relationships with loved ones, makes personal life impossible. Thus, depending on the severity of the syndrome of narcissism, it can be spoken of as a disorder or as a personality trait. But in any case, the person needs help. While despising a society that is unworthy of him, the narcissist may nevertheless feel repressed guilt over his words and actions, feel anxiety and fear when thinking about the future. What awaits him there, further, if he is still not appreciated and ends his life "like everyone else"? The syndrome of narcissism is not a personal whim of a person, but a condition that requires qualified treatment. nine0004

The treatment of narcissistic disorder involves several steps. Identification of the cause of this condition. During individual consultations, a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist finds out the various circumstances of the patient's childhood and adolescence, looking for markers of various traumas or educational disorders that could lead to the development of narcissism. Rationalization of traumatic situations. At this stage, the referred patient makes a realistic assessment of the various circumstances. Going beyond emotions and guided only by facts, he learns to rationally evaluate events, people, words, deeds, without tying them to his personality. Social adaptation. It is important not only to help a person find his “real” self, but also to find himself in this world. To this end, the patient is trained in methods of managing stress and anger, the ability to communicate with others, show their emotions, etc. The duration of treatment may vary - it depends on the individual characteristics of the situation, the psychotype of the patient's personality, his desire to become a healthy person and the readiness of his relatives to support him on this way. Self love is wonderful. But it is even more beautiful to love yourself as a real person, with all the advantages and disadvantages - they are no less unique than the “mask” of a narcissist. nine0004

NARCISSISM article on the website of the Preobrazhenskaya Clinic

1. Constructive narcissism

In behavior it is manifested by self-confidence, good emotional self-control, the ability to find intuitive solutions, act spontaneously, independently, take responsibility, resist the pressure of society, public opinion, unfriendly assessments and manipulative behavior, focus on one's own value system, a sense of one's own strength and competence , realistic self-perception and realization of one's own capabilities; tolerance for one's own weaknesses and shortcomings of others; a variety of interests and motives, a full-blooded bodily life; the ability to establish a variety of interpersonal contacts and maintain warm trusting relationships, while maintaining their own goals and preferences; the ability to love and be loved, while maintaining internal integrity, independence and autonomy; a painless experience of temporary loneliness, without experiencing feelings of longing or boredom; nine0003 A person with constructive narcissism is characterized by an adequately high self-esteem, self-esteem, high self-sufficiency, healthy ambition, openness, the ability to enjoy the fullness of life in its various manifestations and get a sense of joy from the growing possibilities of self-realization; the ability to sincerely forgive mistakes and blunders to yourself and others, drawing the necessary lessons and increasing your life experience; emotional and spiritual maturity.

2. Destructive narcissism

Destructive narcissism is a pathological distortion of constructive narcissism. Distortion or impairment of the individual's ability to realistically perceive, feel and evaluate himself; instability of attitude towards oneself, manifested by fluctuations in ideas of one's own overestimation and underestimation (I am either good or only bad) with the impossibility of stabilizing the "golden mean" in relation to oneself. The inability to objectify the attitude of others towards oneself. nine0003 The reason for the destructive pathology of the "I" is the negative experience of early child-parental experiences, "woven" from insults, fears, rejections, disappointments, prohibitions, prejudices, prejudices. As a result, a feeling of rejection and injustice caused by the inconsistent, contradictory, tender and caring attitude of the mother (primary group), unable to provide the infant with adequate protection and build the correct boundaries of her “I” for him. In this regard, the child develops a distorted or contradictory perception of reality, dooming him to a constant dependence on “narcissistic” support (“narcissistic nutrition”) from the outside. nine0003 In behavior, destructive narcissism is manifested by an insatiable desire to be in the center of attention and receive confirmation of one's importance from others, combined with intolerance of criticism and avoidance of situations of a real external assessment of one's own personality; suspiciousness, a combination of facade (demonstrated) impeccability with excessive exactingness and intolerance to the shortcomings and weaknesses of others; lack of spontaneity, excessive alertness, restraint, pronounced inconsistency, instability, inability to open communication and close, trusting relationships; a pronounced tendency to manipulate others. nine0003 A destructive-narcissistic personality is characterized by an inadequate-contradictory assessment of oneself, one's actions, abilities and capabilities, low tolerance for stress resistance; distorted perception of others, extreme resentment, excessive caution, closeness, a tendency to constantly control one's own expression, and difficulties in communication, a feeling of inseparability and incomprehensibility by others, a high need for social recognition.

3. Deficit narcissism nine0004

Deficiency narcissism is a rudimentary (underdeveloped) state of constructive narcissism, as an inability to feel self-sufficiency and autonomy, form a holistic view of one's personality, evaluate oneself realistically, as well as attach importance to one's desires, goals, motives and actions, defend one's own interests and have independent views, opinions and points of view.
The cause of deficit narcissism is the cold, indifferent and indifferent atmosphere of early parent-child relationships with outwardly formally flawless, oriented to social norms, physical care of the mother for the child, but with insufficient manifestation of maternal love, tenderness and proper human care. This situation prevents the child from forming his own boundaries of the "I", separating himself from symbiosis with his mother, the formation of a primary I-identity, and in the future almost fatally predetermines a deep "narcissistic hunger" (an unconscious need for a relationship of symbiotic fusion), the satisfaction of which is central to human life (fear of loneliness, dependent relationships). nine0003 In behavior, deficient narcissism is manifested by a pronounced dependence on others, passivity, compliance, difficulties in identifying one's own motives and desires, views and principles; the impossibility of establishing and maintaining "full-fledged" interpersonal contacts and relationships without prejudice to their interests, needs, life plans; the poverty of emotional experiences, the predominance of the general background of joylessness, emptiness, forgetfulness and boredom; intolerance to loneliness. nine0004

A deficit-narcissistic personality is characterized by low self-esteem, a sense of insignificance, self-doubt, lack of independence, pessimism, excessive identification with norms and values. Selflessness, the inability to form and maintain one’s own goals and preferences, the inability to make genuine human contacts, to constructively interact with life with the inability to sufficiently feel its fullness, the narrowness and specificity of the circle of interests, the feeling of one’s inferiority and uselessness, the constant need for narcissistic “nutrition” (support, assistance, presence nearby, etc.

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