There is no NPD medication approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder. However, certain types of medications are known to help deal with some of the narcissistic personality disorder symptoms. Additionally, medication can address the high prevalence of comorbid (that is, co-existing) mental health conditions that are so common in NPD.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by personality traits like a distinct lack of empathy or compassion for others along with feelings of arrogance and entitlement. People with NPD can experience anger, anxiety, and dramatic mood swings. Many narcissistic personality disorder symptoms and narcissistic traits can be effectively controlled using medication, despite the fact that none have been actually approved to treat narcissism itself.
Read on to explore more about how narcissistic personality disorder medication might help you or a loved one learn to manage NPD. The truth is, you can live a healthy, peaceful life with rich, rewarding interpersonal relationships and experiences, even with NPD. Medication might make that possible.
Can Someone with NPD Change with Medication?
Can a person change after taking narcissistic personality disorder medication? It really just depends on what you mean by change. Medication can’t cure NPD, but it might help ease some of the major symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and anger. Alleviating these may help someone with NPD (and the people around them) lead happier, calmer lives.
However, while medication can help, it’s important to note that real growth and recovery can be best achieved with therapy over time. Several types of therapy, including forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and others, have been found extremely effective in treating narcissistic personality disorder.
Therapy, especially when potentially combined with medication, can teach someone with NPD new skills so they can relate better to others around them (something that NPD is known to cause challenges with). Ultimately, a comprehensive narcissistic personality disorder treatment plan can help people with NPD form and nurture healthier relationships.
Types of Medications That May Relieve Associated Symptoms
Medication might help to ease symptoms and conditions associated with NPD like depression, anxiety, mood swings, and narcissistic traits like feelings and delusions of grandeur. Keep in mind, the only mental health professionals who can prescribe medication are psychiatrists, as they’ve received medical and psychology training. Some commonly-prescribed types of NPD medication include antidepressants (primarily selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs), mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics.
Antidepressants in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to combat sadness, anxiety, and low mood in people with NPD. These medications are generally not effective in treating anger and impulsiveness, though. Common SSRIs for NPD might include:
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
SSRIs are often used to combat depression. Prozac and Zoloft, from the list above, are SSRIs. This class of medications acts by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to send pleasurable thoughts throughout the brain.
“Besides therapy, medications are needed for treatment. Antidepressants (like Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Viibryd, and Trintellix) are used to treat depression symptoms as well as anxiety features. At times the instability and emotional reactions may need mood stabilizers (lithium, Tegretol, Lamictal) to regulate mood swings and emotional instability. In certain severe cases, an increase in paranoia and extreme psychosis may require use of antipsychotics (Abilify, Geodon, Latuda, saphris, Vraylar).”Talkspace therapist Dr. Muhammad Munir
Mood stabilizers, as the name implies, can be prescribed to help even out dramatic mood swings and impulsive narcissistic behavior in people with NPD. Commonly-prescribed mood stabilizers for NPD might include:
- Lithobid (lithium)
- Depakote (sodium valproate)
- Lamictal (lamotrigine)
- Tegretol or Carbatrol (carbamazepine)
Atypical antipsychotics might also be used for those with NPD who have symptoms that include impulse control issues, psychosis, or mood instability. Commonly prescribed antipsychotics might include:
- Abilify (aripiprazole)
- Geodon (ziprasidone)
- Risperdal (risperidone)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
- Zyprexa (olanzapine)
The Therapeutic Alternative to NPD Medication
Narcissistic personality disorder medication can only go so far, and it’s important to remember that medication only treats the symptoms of the disorder.
Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) can help people with narcissistic personality disorder types relate better to others. It can help them to learn to create more intimate and rewarding interpersonal relationships. Therapy for narcissistic personality disorder can also focus on identifying the root causes of negative feelings, and eventually accepting responsibility for one’s actions.
The good news is that many negative symptoms associated with NPD can be changed once someone commits to getting help and working on themselves. When it comes to how to deal with narcissistic personality disorder, therapy, sometimes in conjunction with narcissistic personality disorder medication, can be very effective in helping people with NPD live more rewarding lives while being kinder and closer to those around them.
To get started, talk with your primary care physician about recommending a mental health professional in your area who has experience treating NPD. Remember, if medication is something you’re considering, only a doctor or psychiatrist (as opposed to a therapist or counselor) can prescribe narcissistic personality disorder medication, and you’ll need a narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis to get them. If you live in a remote area or are unable to travel to appointments, there are several online therapists who you can visit virtually.
Finding support with Talkspace
Talkspace, an online therapy platform, offers convenient, affordable, and accessible alternatives to traditional therapy. We have experienced and skilled mental health professionals who are equipped in treating NPD and other personality disorders like borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Our licensed experts are dedicated to helping people learn to manage their conditions in the best ways possible. This might mean therapy, medication, holistic and lifestyle changes, or a combination of narcissistic personality disorder treatment programs.
Learn more about how Talkspace can help you or a loved one deal with NPD today.