Narcissism treatment is not as well defined as other areas for several reasons. Narcissists rarely seek treatment for narcissistic personality disorder. After all, if you consider yourself superior and you can have what you like, and this is confirmed by those around you, what's not to like?
The second aspect is that there is no cure for narcissist personality disorder.
Thirdly, narcissists do not trust easily and rarely open up to others.
Fourthly, they are liars. They should not be trusted. They do not have empathy and will often distort events to fit with their own idea of reality. For example, they may say that others love them when in fact they are actually despised or feared.
Fifthly, they are manipulators. The therapist may be seen as another object to take advantage of.
Sixthly, any narcissism treatment is typically aimed at sorting out the consequences of the personality disorder, without necessarily dealing with the narcissism. For example, drug or alcohol abuse, depression, destructive acting out, chaotic lifestyles.
There is no currently no drug therapy for narcissistic personality disorder.
Hospitalization occurs with severe cases when the narcissist has other problems superimposed on the narcissism, such as anxiety or depression. When you consider that the narcissist depends on others to boost their ego and self-esteem, the loss of a job or a relationship can be devastating to a narcissist and they end up in hospital.
Treatment is typically aimed at the anxiety or depression and when this is sorted out, they refuse any further therapy. Their attitude is that they are ok, it's others that are at fault!
Longer term hospitalization is reserved for those who are living obviously destructive lifestyles, either destructive for themselves or those around them. Narcissism treatment is aimed at creating an inner world that is more aligned with the outer world and a self concept that is not so vulnerable to narcissistic injury.
However, clinicians differ in their ideas about narcissism treatment, and research is ongoing to determine the most effective approach. Remember there is no actual cure for narcissism, but the goal is to integrate the individual back into society.
Talking therapies have been used with narcissists but even 2 or 3 years of frequent sessions may produce little results. Not many normal people are willing to continue intensive therapy like this, and especially not narcissists!
Group sessions have been tried with narcissists in an effort to help them to recognize other persons as separate. The problem is that many learn more about psychology and abuse the information to further manipulate others!
One group of narcissists do actually seek treatment, those with acquired situational narcissism. Unlike others, they do have experience of relatively normal lifestyles before the onset of the narcissism, and they decide to seek help when, for example, their relationships go to pieces, or they have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
However, once again, they may accept treatment for the acute problem but the narcissism itself prevents them from accepting that they may be at fault and many do not tolerate treatment for the narcissism.
Antidepressant medications, as well as self help programs to boost confidence and self esteem, those about having the life you want and so on, have been noted to actually aggravate the symptoms of narcissism.
While there is no effective treatment for narcissists, treatment for the victims is invaluable. The victims have often been subjected to all sorts of abuses while they were under the mind control of the narcissist.
When the victim learns how the narcissist has manipulated them and their motivations for doing so, the effects of the mind control disappear and the person is allowed to experience the grief, anger and upset normal under such circumstances. Then, and only then, do they have the ability to not only take their life back, but also to not be caught by the next narcissist that crosses their path!
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