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Treatment Option for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Updated on May 25, 2017
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

Treatment is more than stop having a high opinion of yourself...or staring endlessly at your reflection.
Treatment is more than stop having a high opinion of yourself...or staring endlessly at your reflection. | Source

When it comes to Narcissism ( or Narcissistic Personality Disorder), the drugs don’t work. Medication for this specific condition doesn’t exist. In fact, for most personality disorders, medication is non-existent. However, that doesn’t mean treatment for this condition doesn’t exist.

Psychotherapy can be the answer. However, the condition is one that can be lengthy, possibly lasting over the years. Still, this form of treatment is viable in helping a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) develop a better, lasting personality trait.

Challenges of Treatment

Changing one’s personality trait is not an easy task. It requires that the individual “unlearn” traits that have been acquired over the years. Then, learn new ones to replace those old traits. Also, most people with NPD or any form of personality disorder will not necessarily seek help with this condition, for many will believe that there’s nothing wrong.

from Original Artist
from Original Artist

The Therapeutic Approach

Still, whether done by intervention or the choice of the individual, NPD can be treated through one of three forms of psychotherapy. Often, they are initiated or guided by a psychiatrist. They may involve family members, other professionals, and group members with similar conditions.

According to the Mayo Clinic Website, they are

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: this therapy helps the individual with NPD indentify their unhealthy or behaviors. After identification, the behavior(s) are replaced through the teaching and practice of healthier, positive ones.

2. Family Therapy: in this meeting, the family members of the individual with NPD are included in the session.

3. Group Therapy: As the name implies a group of people with similar conditions meet on a regular basis in a psychiatrist’s office. While the psychiatrist monitors and heads the group, much of the strategies and coping skills taught to the individual with NPD is coming through like-minded members of the group. It can be a brain-storming tactic or a lesson conducted through experience

In all cases, conflict resolutions, communication skills, problem-solving tactics, and coping skills are taught to the individual and his/her family.

In for the Long Term

Due to the complexity of the condition -- and the fact that many patients are reluctant to self-identify this condition as problem -- therapy meetings may last for years. In some cases, a person with NPD may need therapy for most of his/her life or until ideal behavior has been reached to some degree.

Short-Term Prospects

As mentioned, short-term therapy for NPD is nearly non-existent. However,, co-existing conditions not associated with NPD (but often present in people with narcissism) can be treated.

These "other" conditions can be easily identified, possibly much easier that NPD can. Often, a person with NPD will have such co-existing conditions of physical and emotional abuse, depression, low self-esteem or shame. While medication is not used to treat symptoms of NPD, it can be used for these co-existing conditions.

NPD is a personality disorder in which a person has a grandiose perception of him/herself. The person with this condition may lack empathy for others; have fantasies of being successful; have an inflated ego, and appear to be tough-minded or unemotional.

There are no known causes; however,it is believed that some of these traits and factors may the patient's childhood.A person with NPD is often diagnosed by the use of certain criteria established by a psychiatrist or professional specializing in mental health.

The important aspect of treating NDP is for the patient to recognize he or she has the condition and wants to change it. Afterward, therapy can help, as long as the patient sticks with it and realize it will take time.

Group therapy in action
Group therapy in action | Source

© 2015 Dean Traylor

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    • nanospeck profile image

      Akhil Anil 2 years ago

      Treatment Option for Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a good article

    • Karine Gordineer profile image

      Karine Gordineer 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Interesting Hub. I don't believe I've read one like it yet. You may want to move the description of what NPD is up to the top though as I was wondering as I was reading what the clinical definition was and then found the description towards the end of the Hub. Curious what your interest is on the topic? I would actually love to see more information on the subject; the mention of the connection of criminal behavior and NPD, NPD in our society, etc. All in all good and thought provoking hub - thanks for sharing!