Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 68–75 | Cite as

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A Current Review

  • Elsa RonningstamEmail author


The diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-IV has been criticized foremost for its limitations in capturing the range and complexity of narcissistic pathology. The attention to the narcissistic individual’s external, symptomatic, or social interpersonal patterns—at the expense of his or her internal complexity and individual suffering—has also added to the diagnosis’ low clinical utility and limited guidance for treatment. Recent studies and reviews have pointed to the need for change in the diagnostic approach to and formulation of narcissism. This review focuses specifically on studies of features that add to the identification, understanding, and treatment of patients with pathological narcissistic functioning and narcissistic personality disorder. They have been integrated into a regulatory model that includes the functions and fluctuations of internal control, self-esteem, perfectionism with accompanying self-criticism, shame, and empathic ability and functioning.


Narcissistic personality disorder Perfectionism Empathy Self-esteem Internal control 



No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McLean HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBelmont02478USA

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