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What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD), also called dramatic personality disorder, affects 2 to 3% of the U.S. population. It’s characterized by a distorted self-image, unstable emotions, and an insatiable craving to be the center of attention. The disorder can make it difficult for an individual to form and maintain meaningful relationships. However, a histrionic personality disorder treatment program can help.

While it’s normal for people to crave attention and be a bit dramatic every once in a while, for people with HPD, it’s an unrelenting need. If you’re in need of treatment for histrionic personality disorder, contact Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder? The Behaviors

It’s unclear what causes HPD, but experts believe genetics can influence a person’s chances of developing the condition. Many also believe that traumatic events during childhood can increase the risk of its development. 

The word “histrionic” is defined by the Oxford Languages dictionary as “overly theatrical or melodramatic in character.” When an individual has this disorder, they have a persistently overwhelming desire to be noticed. 

They often behave inappropriately or dramatically in order to receive attention, sometimes to the embarrassment and regret of their friends and family members.

In addition, a person who has HPD has little or no true feelings of self-worth; their self-esteem depends on the approval of others. In other words, they rely on the praise and attention of other people to feel good about themselves. 

Those who have HPD are generally unaware that their way of thinking and acting is problematic. The condition usually develops in a person’s late teens or early 20s.

Signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder

What is histrionic personality disorder? The main characteristic of this disorder is an excessive display of superficial emotionality in order to attract attention. The person who has HPD will exhibit many other signs of histrionic personality disorder. These individuals may:

  • Display seductive and provocative behavior
  • Use their appearance to gain attention
  • Have shallow, shifting emotions
  • Be easily influenced by other people
  • Consider relationships to be more serious and intimate than they are
  • Have exaggerated and dramatic emotions
  • Use vague, impressionistic speech

In order for an individual to be diagnosed with HPD, they must exhibit at least five of these signs of histrionic personality disorder. There must be a pervasive pattern of consistent attention-seeking behaviors.

Prognosis and Complications

Someone who has HPD can still lead a productive, purposeful life. Treatment and education are crucial to successfully managing the condition. There is no cure for this personality disorder, but people who participate in therapy may be able to gain insight into their behaviors and function in more acceptable ways. 

Individuals with histrionic personality disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorders, such as alcohol use disorder and cannabis use disorder. They are also at a higher risk of developing depression than the general population. 

Furthermore, they can also be prone to having panic attacks, conversion disorder, and somatization disorder. 

Conversion disorder is also known as functional neurological system disorder. It’s a condition in which an individual experiences sensory and physical problems without any underlying neurologic pathology to explain them.

Somatization disorder occurs when an individual feels extreme anxiety about any physical symptoms they have. They focus on these symptoms to the point that they disrupt activities of daily living.

People with HPD may make frequent suicidal gestures and threats, as well.

Get the Help You Need for HPD at Promises Behavioral Health

We take every client’s experience seriously. We believe you deserve the utmost respect and the very best treatment available. If you or someone you love may be suffering from signs of histrionic personality disorder, reach out to the compassionate staff of Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

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