What are the narcissistic personality disorder treatment guidelines? A person with narcissistic personality disorder is, amongst other things, extremely self involved. They are not easy to live with as they constantly seek attention and exaggerate their own achievements. Sadly there is not yet a cure for narcissistic personality disorder, but psychologists are able to use several treatments to help the patient form more positive personal relationships in their social sphere.
Narcissistic personality disorder treatment guidelines
Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is usually focussed on alleviating the symptoms of the illness and helping the patient learn to be more caring about the feelings of others, rather than treating the underlying personality disorder itself.
However, treatment for narcissistic personality disorder is not always very successful. For one thing a narcissist is very unlikely to seek treatment for their condition as they tend not to see anything wrong with their behaviour, and for another, a narcissist is likely to be highly contemptuous of a doctor or therapist unless they are in a very senior position, since one of the typical features of narcissistic personality disorder is a well developed sense of superiority over others.
But in some cases, treatment for the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder becomes unavoidable. This will either be because the patient has suffered a physical illness and is forced to face the fact that they are only human, or because they are suffering from symptoms related to the disorder such as depression or self harming.
Treatment of narcissistic personality disorder is mainly psychotherapy, either as an individual, or in a group setting. The goal of all treatment plans for narcissistic personality disorder is to alleviate some of the symptoms of the illness rather than affect a cure. By helping the patient to gain some insight into their problems, the hope is that they will gain a greater level of self esteem (which is very low in people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder) and learn to relate to those around them in a less destructive manner.
There are different degrees of narcissistic personality disorder, but for the more severe cases, hospitalisation is sometimes necessary. A small percentage of patients with narcissistic personality disorder engage in very impulsive or destructive behaviour, including self harming. These patients often benefit from long term residential care as it helps them to express their emotions and learn how to better deal with conflict while in a secure and sympathetic environment. The same guidelines will be used for severe patients who lack motivation in attending outpatient clinics; sometimes hospitalisation is the only way to treat them.
As we have already mentioned, psychotherapy is not always very effective with patients displaying the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder because the patient often sees the therapist as a threat to their grandiose self beliefs. However, group therapy sessions can often be more productive since the therapist in a group setting is seen as less threatening and the emotional experience of the therapy is less acute.
Can medication be used to treat the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder?
Medication will be used to treat the secondary symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder such as depression or behavioural problems, but therapy is considered to be the most effective treatment for NPD.