Histrionic Personality Disorder

personality disorder
personality disorder

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic Personality Disorder as defined is an individual who draws or seek attention to themselves through extreme show of emotional and dramatic characteristics. Individual with HPD often have excessive need for approval of others and are also characterized for being flirtatious, vivacious, enthusiastic and lively. Inappropriate behavior of sexually provocative or inappropriate show of behavior to gain long time approval from others define HPD associated with egocentrism and self-centeredness. Individuals with PHD are also manipulative to achieve their own needs.

The characteristic of being self-centered put this type of individual at high level of function making most of them successful whether socially or professionally. Good social skills are also included in defining person with histrionic although the skill is manifested with the manipulative behavior just to be the center of attention.

Histrionic person is also on the blind side of their own faults and mistakes often blaming others for their own difficulties. Romantic failures and rejections are not taken positively and often seek advice or consultation due to depression.

Histrionics are also risky people owing to their greed of novelty or fame and excitement and they tend to get easily bored and have difficulties with frustrations.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

People with histrionic personality disorder tend to drive themselves to success both professionally and socially as they are geared to high level of functioning in order to achieve attention and approval from others. Most histrionic person draws attention through the following deeds:

  • Provocatively dressed towards seduction
  • Bubbly or lively to catch attention
  • Low tolerance to frustration and disappointment
  • Romantic in relationships believing in intimacy rather than conventional
  • Incapable of accepting fault or mistakes and instead blaming others for the wrong deeds
  • Utterly concerned with their looks aiming to be the center of everyone’s attention
  • Always seek approval and reassurance
  • Easily convinced or influenced by other people
  • Greed to be the center of attention
  • Extremely sensitive to criticism and rejection
  • Exaggerated expression of emotions and drama
  • Emotions easily changed which are always shallow
  • Impulsive and often not thinking when deciding and acting
  • Easily gets bored with routines

Histrionic Personality Disorder Causes

Cause of histrionic personality disorder remains unknown. Genetic predisposition has been suspected to influence this type of personality disorder although others consider learned factor influencing this type of personality. A child who has either one or both parents with histrionic personality may also develop the same behavior through repetition or imitation of what the child is perceiving potentially affecting the child’s personality development.

Early childhood experiences also contribute whether a child is reprimanded with excessive show of emotion and self-centeredness. Child abuse may also create a histrionic individual.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Test (Diagnosis)

Histrionic individual seek professional help during the time of depression usually from an intimate relationship. They remain unaware of their personality disorder thinking that they are always highly regarded and always at no fault. The personality will remain undiagnosed only until an excessive show of emotion and self-centeredness is gauged through psychological evaluation and assessment based on behavior, history and overall appearance of histrionic individual.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Diagnostic Criteria

There are different diagnostic criteria an individual has to meet before the personality disorder is diagnosed and there is no diagnostic test to confirm such personality behavior as the criteria are usually subjective. The following criteria are:

  • DSM IV – defines five criteria an individual has to meet to diagnose histrionic personality disorder and these include; self-centeredness, provocative behavior in inappropriate situation or occasion, rapid shifting of shallow emotion and expression, utter display of physical appearance, impressionistic though shallow speech, exaggeration of emotions, can be influenced easily by others and believes in intimacy in relationship out of conventional manner.
  • ICD 10 – defines that at least three criteria must be met to diagnose histrionic personality disorder.
  • Millon’s Subtypes – classified histrionic into six subtypes which are; theatrical histrionic defined as dramatic and romantic, infantile histrionic defines borderline features, vivacious histrionic exhibits seductiveness, tempestuous histrionic defines passive-aggressive behavior, appeasing histrionic describes compulsive feature and disingenuous histrionic which is the antisocial feature.

There are also differential diagnosis for histrionic personality which includes clinical depression, somatoform disorder, panic disorder and anxiety disorder.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment

Histrionic personality disorder can be managed through psychotherapy and medications. Conflict will arise if it is left untreated. One such conflict is broken marriage with the flirtatious behavior. Social conflict in office environment may also arise when histrionic individual act on their need to be on top of the corporate world they belong to inhibiting self-centeredness.

Treatment available to manage histrionic personality disorder includes:

  • Medications
  • Family therapy or counseling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy

Psychotherapy is regarded as the best treatment for histrionic individuals although it may require long-term. It is best that members of the family of histrionic individual be educated on the condition to enable them to understand and support well histrionic family member.


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