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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fourth Edition


American Psychiatric Association
© 1994 American Psychiatric Association


(301.50) Histrionic Personality Disorder

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of Histrionic Personality Disorder is pervasive and excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

Individuals with Histrionic Personality Disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not the center of attention….Often lively and dramatic, they tend to draw attention to themselves and may initially charm new acquaintances by their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtatiousness. These qualities wear thin, however, as these individuals continually demand to be the center of attention….

(301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

Individuals with this disorder have a grandiose sense of self-importance….They routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious. They may blithely assume that others attribute the same value to their efforts and may be surprised when the praise they expect and feel they deserve is not forthcoming. Often implicit in the inflated judgments of their own accomplishments is an underestimation (devaluation) of the contributions of others. They are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love….They may ruminate about “long overdue” admiration and privilege and compare themselves favorably with famous or privileged people….

301.6 Dependent Personality Disorder

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of Dependent Personality Disorder is a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation. This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. The dependent and submissive behaviors are designed to elicit caregiving and arise from self-perception of being unable to function adequately without the help of others….###

Incident at the Coffee Bean

Yes, the cover of the "DSM-IV" is a photo and it's a bit out of focus; but it's the best I could do. The goddamn book wouldn't fit on my scanner. Well, I mean it would fit; but I couldn't close the scanner's cover, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of scanning, now, doesn't it? Light comes in, distorting the scan. So I took a photo of the cover of this book, and, yes, it's my book and I'm not going to explain why I have this book. So the photo is out of focus a bit and that's because I didn't use a flash because I'd get a bounce off the cover even though there would not have been any of this out-of-focus stuff because the shutter would work faster with a flash. I'm sure you understand. So you can take it or leave it. I mean, you can see the goddamn thing, can't you? You think you can do better? And, yes, my hand was shaking a bit out of...well, I was still shaking from a very unpleasant experience I had just had at the Coffee Bean in Studio City, California, a sorry excuse for a coffee bar if ever there was one, with its goddamn women in tennis togs ordering triple dip cha lattés or some nonsense. And like a fool I had to go and order a double espresso there. Of course it's not going to be as good as my own home-made Rancilio espresso and besides that the goddamn clerk—where do they get these people?—asked me for my first name. "What? Why do you need my name?" I said. "For when your coffee is ready, sir." Not said with any courtesy I might add. Well. I rarely give my first name because no one ever gets it right. My name is Britt, but invariably I'm called Fred or Dick or Bill, because no one knows Britt as a name for a man. So I said that my name was Bob. But then I became disgusted with myself because I don't like any of the first name stuff anyway, that undue familiarity you get all the time these days. I like formality. I like "mister." So I thought about asking him to call me Mister Bob, but that was too complicated and made me...well the whole business...was disgusting. The women in their tennis togs, the triple cha somethings, the rude clerk, my calling myself Bob. Yes, and when I finally got the espresso, it was horrible. So by the time I got out of there I was shaking with frustration and rage and was still shaking when I took the photo of the DSM-IV. If you think you can do better, try it. You might be younger with a steadier hand. In fact if you're younger you could probably take the goddamn photo and text-message one of your little friends at the same time. Because you are a multi-tasker! BFD! Well, older people have uses too, you know. Wisdom, there's something called wisdom and not many people give any goddamn respect to wisdom these days and that's because WISDOM CANNOT BE TEXT-MESSAGED!


Ed. Note: There are so many more classifications within the DSM-IV than there are signs of the Zodiac. I count over 300 disorders, even though I could be wrong in my count. Which might be a disorder in itself: Innumeracy Disorder—even though it's not listed in the 1994 edition. There's also the matter of always thinking I'm wrong. "Anorthism Disorder." Not in the book either; I made both of those up; it was an impulse. That's 312.30: "Impulse-Control Disorder Not Otherwise Specified." —B.L.



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