One of the biggest hurdles on the way to receiving proper treatment for a personality disorder is actually acknowledging that you may suffer with one. It sounds ridiculously simple, but one of the great ironies of personality disorders is that regardless of how much conflict or alienation results from the behavior associated with the personality disorder, the person who lives with it may be the last person to recognize that something is wrong.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one such example. People who have NPD are generally unaware of their disorder. Inherent in the thinking of a person with NPD is a feeling of superiority over others and a false self-perception. They rarely see any flaws in themselves and project an air of arrogance or conceit as a result.
Seeking treatment is only something one does when a problem has been acknowledged. Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder rarely admit to having problems themselves. Rather, they tend to blame others for all of the conflict in their interpersonal relationships.
To fully recognize a problem exists, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder needs to become aware of the symptoms of NPD, and the impact they have on themselves and others. However, with NPD, this isn’t always easy. Especially when other disorders, such as depression, exist.
When NPD Leads to Depression
Some people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder experience depression as a result of various things that may change as they age. Narcissists thrive on a sense of perfection and superiority. As they age, their physical appearance and abilities may change as part of the natural aging process, which can result in feelings of depression.
Another contributing factor in the onset of depression for someone with NPD is that the result of treating others poorly and engaging in self-centered behavior over many years may leave them with few friends or family members they are close to. Most people dislike narcissists, as they are often seen as “users” who value others only for what they can do for them. After enough time, most people will choose to opt out of a relationship with someone who demonstrates an excessive sense of entitlement and appears only to think and care about themselves.
Those with NPD often suffer from other mental health issues, such as anxiety or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). If these symptoms get bad enough and the person with NPD seeks help for those issues, they may finally encounter a mental health professional and receive psychotherapy or medications or both. Sadly, this is not enough to treat NPD because it does not specifically address the behavior associated with having NPD, but only treats the symptoms.
When to Get NPD Treatment
Despite the fact that it is very rare for a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder to recognize they have a problem, it does happen. If psychotherapy is employed to treat a related problem such as depression, the process may lead to important realizations for the person suffering with NPD.
Through the right kind of NPD treatment, a person with NPD can learn to accept themselves and others as flawed individuals who are not required to live up to an impossible ideal of perfection in order to be loved.
Improving interpersonal relationships by learning to reciprocate, listen, and empathize more can lead to positive changes in the lives of people with NPD, as well as for their loved ones.