Histrionic Personality Disorder
Histrionic personality disorder is a Cluster B personality disorder featuring a longstanding pattern of exaggerated emotionality and attention-seeking behaviors. These individuals have an excessive need to be the center of attention, and have difficulty developing intimacy in relationships.
About Histrionic Personality Disorder
Approximately 1.85% of U.S. adults are diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder annually. Individuals with the disorder tend to rely on their physical attributes to garner attention from others, often behaving in inappropriately seductive ways to gain attention. When in a group setting this individual will speak in a louder than necessary voice, and use dramatic or exaggerated mannerisms, to draw themselves into the center of attention. These actions are in response to a low level of self-esteem and lack of self worth. Common comorbidities include other personality disorders, depression, and somatic symptom disorder.
Causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder
Science has not revealed the exact cause of this personality disorder, but there is consensus that the disorder may emerge out of inherited and/or learned behaviors. Children with parents or close family members with histrionic personality disorder may mimic and repeat their mannerisms and behaviors. Other possible factors include:
Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder will have developed a pervasive pattern of behaviors that include the following symptoms:
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder are diagnosed in adulthood, even if they may have exhibited tendencies in childhood and adolescence. The disorder affects more females than males.
Diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder
Diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder will be achieved through a psychological evaluation and a review of medical history. The mental health professional will conduct an interview, as well as utilize assessment tools and the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria to arrive at the diagnosis. The diagnosis is reserved for individuals who persistently exaggerate their emotions in addition to exhibiting attention-seeking behaviors with a minimum of five of the diagnostic criteria.
Treatment of Histrionic Personality Disorder
In general, individuals with this type of personality disorder do not believe they need treatment. What might motivate them to seek psychological help is when they are struggling with failed relationships or are experiencing depressive symptoms. During these interviews the therapist will recognize the behaviors and mannerisms that lead them to explore a histrionic personality diagnosis.
There is no medication designed to treat this disorder. However, medications can be provided to treat some symptoms, such as antidepressants for depression symptoms. Overall, long-term psychotherapy is indicated for individuals with histrionic personality disorder.
Some types of psychotherapy used to treat this personality disorder include:
This type of therapy helps the individual meet concrete goals, such as learning to tolerate situations when they are met with low approval, awareness and improved regulation of emotions, and developing social skills.
This therapy explores the individual’s childhood to seek answers for how the disorder may have developed or been shaped by childhood experiences.
The therapy helps the individual progress through three processes, including reformulation, recognition, and revision in a 16-week period.
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