Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a type of group B personality disorder that is characterized by excessive emotion and attention-seeking behavior.
Have you ever met someone who was very emotional, dramatic, and openly seduced into their conversation with others? Someone who was so obsessed with their looks? Someone who can’t bear to be the center of attention? Someone might go to unhealthy and sometimes dangerous levels to draw attention to themselves?
If the answer is yes, then you have likely come across someone with histrionic personality disorder. The term “theatrical” became relevant only recently. Originally the disorder was referred to as “hysterical personality”.
Features of histrionic personality disorder
According to the Diagnostic Statistics Manual-V (DSM-V), a consistent pattern of attention-seeking behavior and high emotion since early adulthood is indicative of the disorder. The following personality traits are reflected in people with histrionic personality disorder:
- They are uncomfortable in situations where the center of attention is someone else.
- Their interaction with others is characterized by provocative behavior and inappropriate sex.
- They display a shallow and rapidly changing flow of emotions.
- They have an impressionistic style of expression that lacks detail.
- They constantly use their appearance to attract attention.
- They are sexy in conversations and show exaggerated feelings.
- They are easily influenced by people or the environment around them.
It is common for people to have overlapping symptoms of more than one personality disorder. This often leads to doctors diagnosingPersonality disorder not otherwise specified (PDNOS).
Other disorders that share features in common with histrionic personality disorders include:
- Narcissistic personality disorderThis is due to similar narcissistic traits and attention-seeking behaviour.
- Borderline personality disorder: This is due to the intense emotional landscapes that both disorders have in common.
- Dependent personality disorder: This is because of the common symptoms of having a strong desire to be around people.
- Somatic symptom disorder: This is due to the similarity of the ways in which a patient may use their physical ailments to gain attention.
Causes of histrionic personality disorder
Most researchers believe that histrionic personality disorder is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental conditions. Childhood trauma and indifferent parenting have also been described as reasons for the development of the disorder. Excessive parenting may also cause children to develop HPD in the future. Furthermore, parents who tend to be role models for volatile, dramatic, and sexual behavior may also put their children at risk for HPD.
treatment or treatment
Psychotherapy is widely used as a treatment for histrionic personality disorder. Supportive psychotherapy, which is not threatening and reassuring, is a good treatment option. Through emotional listening, it aims to:
- reduce emotional distress,
- improve self-esteem and
- Enhance coping skills.
Other than that, psychodynamic therapy aimed at changing the dysfunctional patient’s perspective is used to solve complex underlying problems. According to research by Sulz S., mood stabilizers can be used to relieve symptoms of impulse control.
Disclaimer: The above medications should only be used after proper diagnosis and discussion with specialists. Unregulated use can be life threatening.
A variety of negative emotions and environment contribute to a range of personality disorders. For people who suffer from it, life is a difficult balance of trying to suppress the constant flow of emotions they are feeling.
Wide awareness of these disorders will help bring about positive change in how the world views them. This will encourage more people to come forward and actively seek the help they need. To continue down the path of awareness, find out more about another widely misunderstood disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, over here.
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