Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental problem that can be treated by determining the depth of the disorder in order to decide whether to apply counseling or psychotherapy. People with this disorder, which is sometimes simply called narcissism, usually have a misplaced feeling of superiority and importance, as well as a deep desire for admiration, and often act with little regard to the feelings of others. Recovery involves identifying and accepting a diagnosis of the disorder, uncovering the causes of the condition, and establishing a treatment plan.
Recovering from narcissism involves first of all admitting that such a problem exists, and recognizing the symptoms of the disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder causes feelings of unreasonable intense humiliation and rage when a person suffering from it is even mildly criticized. This person has an overly exaggerated sense of self-importance and worth. He or she is often preoccupied with fantasies of intelligence, success, beauty or his or her own version of ideal love. The person is self-serving and only seeks to satisfy his or her own interests, even at the detriment of others.
Some of the causes of narcissistic personality disorder are quite complex and may include a combination of a person's environment, genetics and upbringing. Those who had a dysfunctional childhood or were abused or neglected may develop the disorder as a defensive response to the feelings of low self-esteem fostered by the trauma of their childhood. Some people may have been excessively pampered, leading them to believe that they are better than everyone else. Other people may simply be physiologically disposed to such an attitude.
The main treatment to help those recovering from narcissism is therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps them recognize the negative attitudes and misconceptions that are the direct result of the disorder. Recognizing these signs will help people recovering from narcissism to replace such negative attitudes with more positive ones. Group therapy is also effective because it brings together a group of people with the disorder so that they can find out more about the disorder and receive support from the group while recovering from narcissism.
Family therapy may also help by bringing together a family to address any feelings of inadequacy stemming from old childhood hurts that might be the root of the narcissism. If the narcissism is accompanied by feelings of depression and anxiety, then some medication prescribed by a physician may help the person better manage the condition. Counseling may also be of benefit to those with mild versions of the disorder.