People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections. If you recognize that aspects of your personality are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you're feeling overwhelmed by sadness, talk with your doctor. Whatever your diagnosis, your symptoms signal a need for medical care.
When you call to make an appointment, your doctor may immediately refer you to a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist.
Use the information below to prepare for your first appointment and learn what to expect from the mental health provider.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing and for how long. It will help the mental health provider to know what kinds of events are likely to make you feel angry or defeated.
- Write down key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current, major stressors.
- Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask questions or share information with the mental health provider that you don't mention.
- Write down questions to ask your mental health provider in advance so that you can make the most of your appointment.
For narcissistic personality disorder, some basic questions to ask your mental health provider include:
- What exactly is narcissistic personality disorder?
- Could I have different mental health conditions?
- What is the goal of treatment in my case?
- What treatments are most likely to be effective for me?
- How much do you expect my quality of life may improve with treatment?
- How frequently will I need therapy sessions and for how long?
- Would family or group therapy be helpful in my case?
- Are there medications that can help?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your mental health provider, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that may come up during your appointment.
What to expect from your mental health provider
The mental health provider is likely to ask you a number of questions to gain an understanding of your symptoms and how they're affecting your life. The mental health provider may ask:
Nov. 04, 2011
- What are your symptoms?
- When do these symptoms occur, and how long do they last?
- How do you feel — and act — when others seem to criticize or reject you?
- Do you have any close personal relationships? If not, how do you explain that lack?
- What are your accomplishments?
- What do you plan to accomplish in the future?
- How do you feel when someone needs your help?
- How do you feel when someone expresses difficult feelings, such as fear or sadness, to you?
- How would you describe your childhood, including your relationship with your parents?
- How would you say your symptoms are affecting your life, including school, work and personal relationships?
- Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a mental health problem, including a personality disorder?
- Have you been treated for any other mental health problems? If yes, what treatments were most effective?
- Do you use alcohol or illegal drugs? How often?
- Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?
- Narcissistic personality disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.
- Skodol AE, et al. Personality disorders. In: Hales RE, et al., eds. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.
- Ronningstam E. Narcissistic personality disorder: A clinical perspective. Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 2011;17:89.
- Ronningstam E. Narcissistic personality disorder: A current review. Current Psychiatry Report. 2010;12:68.
- Young JQ. Narcissistic personality disorder. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00023-9&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&sid=1208587682&uniqId=283290371-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00023-9--sc0010. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.
- Janowsky D. Personality disorders. In: Ebert MH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3289431. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.