What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is part of a larger group of psychological disorders, called ‘Cluster B,’ personality disorders. These disorders are usually dramatic, emotional, or erratic in nature. People with HPD have a distorted mental image of the self, which is often based in self-esteem that comes from needing others’ approval. HPD can see people resorting to dramatic antics to get attention. Women often are diagnosed with it more than men but men also report symptoms less often. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of HPD.

Signs of HPD

HPD is not a disorder that keeps people from working or functioning. The opposite is actually true, in that people with HPD function at a high level and are able to have friends and socialize. They often use their social skills to manipulate others, which is where they find themselves in trouble. People with histrionic personality disorder have at least five, if not more, of the following symptoms:

  • Uncomfortable in situations unless they are center of attention
  • Inappropriate sexually with others
  • Consistently use attention to draw attention to the self
  • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they are
  • Bored or frustrated with routines
  • Makes rash decisions

Causes of HPD

The exact cause of HPD is not currently know. Scientists think it is an outcome of environmental and biological factors. Somem families have a history of it but some people devleop it by learning behavior from the parents. It is also a problem that results from lack of discipline or positive reinforcement of negative behaviors in childhood. A child may learn negative attention gets their parents to look at them and they seek this behavior out as adults.

Diagnosing and Treating HPD

When a person seeks out a diagnosis for HPD, they  may look for medical care and seek to fill out a personal history form that looks at all the symptoms. It is more psychological in nature so a psychiatrist may be able to help. A psychiatrist will be able to use expert questions to get a clear personal history and make a diagnosis. Most people with the condition do not believe they need therapy or help. Treatment may include:

  • Medication: antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication is common
  • Psychotherapy or support for other underlying conditions
  • Treatment for addiction or substance use as needed

People live long, healthy, normal lives with HPD. There may not be many issues to work on but, depending on the case, HPD may impact a person’s ability to hold a job, maintain a relationship, or stay focused on life goals. It can cause a person to seek adventure or put them at risk for other things. If this interferes with daily life it may be worth seeking support to live a more fulfilling life.

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