Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder
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What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Individuals with histrionic personality disorder exhibit excessive emotionality—a tendency to regard things in an emotional manner—and are attention seekers. People with this disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not the center of attention. Behaviors may include constant seeking of approval or attention, self-dramatization, theatricality, and striking self-centeredness or sexual seductiveness in inappropriate situations, including social, occupational, and professional relationships, beyond what is appropriate for the social context. They may be lively and dramatic and initially charm new acquaintances with their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtatiousness. They may also, however, embarrass friends and acquaintances with excessive public displays of emotion, such as embracing casual acquaintances with passion, sobbing uncontrollably over minor setbacks, or having temper tantrums.

People with histrionic personality disorder commandeer the role of “life of the party.” Interests and conversation will be self-focused. They use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. Emotional expression may be shallow and rapidly shifting. Their style of speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail. They may do well with jobs that value and require imagination and creativity but will probably have difficulty with tasks that demand logical or analytical thinking.

The disorder occurs more frequently in women, although this may be because it is more often diagnosed in women than men. Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions estimate that the prevalence of histrionic personality disorder is 1.84 percent.

Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder

For a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder to be given, five or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance, and using physical appearance to draw attention to self
  • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details
  • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
  • Is highly suggestible (easily influenced by others)

For these symptoms to be considered a disorder, they must cause significant impairment or distress in an individual.

 

Causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder

The cause of this disorder is unknown, but childhood events and genetics may both be involved. It occurs more frequently in women than in men, although some feel it is simply more often diagnosed in women because attention seeking and sexual forwardness are less socially acceptable for women than for men.

People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can function well in social and occupational environments. They may seek treatment for depression when romantic relationships end. They often fail to see their own situation realistically, instead tending to overdramatize and exaggerate. Responsibility for failure or disappointment is usually blamed on others. Because they tend to crave novelty and excitement, they may place themselves in risky situations. All of these factors may lead to greater risk of developing depression.

Complications of Histrionic Personality Disorder

  • Histrionic personality disorder can affect a person’s social, professional, or romantic relationships and how they react to losses or failures. People with this disorder are also at higher risk than the general population to suffer from depression
  • Prone to substance abuse or other medications
  • Bulimia

If you or your loved one is suffering from Histrionic Personality then must see the psychiatrist with full confidentiality. If ignored, this illness may lead to other mood disorders.

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