It was a question asked urgently by one of the hundreds of psychiatrists gathered here last week for their professional society's annual meeting. With doctors in the thick of a years-long effort to rewrite the essential textbook for diagnosing mental illnesses, questions like these came up time and again in meeting rooms, over drinks sipped from coconut shells, and in other venues during the five-day conference.
Among the myriad proposals now on the table: reducing the number of specific personality disorders from 10 to five, a move that would eliminate the diagnosis of narcissistic disorder.
"Of course there are narcissists!" the psychiatrist insisted in the convention's vast exhibit hall, where new research papers were displayed next to pharmaceutical-industry booths. "We see them all the time!"
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