The upcoming edition of psychiatry "bible" The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka, the DSM) will list 50 percent fewer personality disorders than the previous edition, but the deletion everyone wants to talk about is narcissism. "The uproar is unsurprising," says Elizabeth Currid-Halkett in The Wall Street Journal. From Hollywood to Facebook, there's no shortage of evidence that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) continues to define American culture. Here's an excerpt:
We see it everywhere in our culture. Narcissism can explain part of the motivation for participating in reality TV show antics, and Hollywood has always seemed a refuge for beautiful people who need to be the center of attention. We know that not much will change in Hollywood with this announcement. But will it change any other parts of our culture?
Most troubling about not including NPD as a personality disorder is that there is evidence of narcissism in all of our social lives. It's alarming that in an age when narcissism is so evident, and with new ways for narcissists to get attention so apparent, that it would not be considered a personality disorder. The new world of democratic celebrities — on Facebook, reality TV, and Twitter — where there are fewer traditional constraints on runaway narcissism, demonstrates the need to take this personality disorder seriously.