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What Are the Different Types of Narcissism Treatments?

Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Narcissism treatments generally involve a combination of individual and group psychotherapy. Treating narcissism may also involve treating other mental health issues that can arise as a result of narcissistic personality disorder. These conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or addiction, may require psychoactive medications or rehabilitative therapy. Narcissistic personality disorder is believed to stem from childhood abuse or neglect, so narcissism treatments can often include therapy to help the patient heal from psychological trauma sustained in early life. Cognitive behavioral and group psychotherapies can help those with narcissistic personality disorder learn to recognize their own dysfunctional behavior patterns, and replace those patterns with healthier ones.

Medication isn't usually prescribed for the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder. Most experts believe narcissism is the result of inappropriate ego formation in early childhood. People who develop narcissistic personality disorder have often been victims of emotional or physical abuse and neglect in childhood. As a result, they may, later in life, develop excessive feelings of superiority, an inability to empathize with the feelings of others, excessive fear of rejection, low self-esteem, and other symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Patients therefore learn to function in an inappropriate way, so narcissism treatments generally center around teaching patients to empathize with others and develop a healthy sense of self-esteem.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered one of the more successful treatments, since it typically helps patients understand, identify, and change negative or unhealthy patterns of belief and behavior. Narcissism treatments often include group therapy with other patients suffering the disorder. Group therapy is said to help these patients better learn how to identify with others and succeed in a social setting. Family therapy is often included in narcissism treatments, since it can help patients repair damaged filial relationships and strengthen these relationships for the future.

Many people with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from a significant amount of mental and emotional distress, due to core feelings of low self-worth and an inability to maintain close relationships with others. Accompanying mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or addiction, are considered common to those with narcissism. Treatment for these related illnesses is generally necessary before full recovery can be achieved. Treatment may vary, depending on the nature of the corresponding illness.

Most mental health professionals prefer to treat narcissism on an outpatient basis. Some patients, however, may have severe symptoms or accompanying mental illnesses that require inpatient treatment. Patients who engage in severely self-damaging behaviors due to narcissistic personality disorder may need the constant supervision of medical and psychiatric staff until symptoms are brought under control.

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