Magidson JF, Collado-Rodriguez A, Madan A, Perez-Camoirano NA, Galloway SK, Borckardt JJ, Campbell WK, Miller JD
Personal Disord 2012 Apr;3(2):196-208
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is characterized by an unrealistic need for admiration, lack of empathy toward others, and feelings of superiority. NPD presents a unique and significant challenge in clinical practice, particularly in medical settings with limited provider contact time, as health professionals treat individuals who often require excessive admiration and have competing treatment needs. This practice review highlights real case examples across three distinct medically oriented clinical settings (inpatient and outpatient behavioral medicine and a Level I trauma center) to demonstrate the difficult and compromising situations that providers face when treating patients with general medical conditions and comorbid narcissistic personality features. The main goal of this article is to discuss the various challenges and obstacles associated with these cases in medical settings and discuss some strategies that may prove successful. A second goal is to bridge diverse conceptualizations of narcissism/NPD through the discussion of theoretical and empirical perspectives that can inform understanding of the clinical examples. Despite differing perspectives regarding the underlying motivation of narcissistic behavior, this practice review highlights that these paradigms can be integrated when sharing the same ultimate goal: to improve delivery of care across medically oriented clinical settings for patients with narcissistic features.