Histrionic Personality Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, Test and Treatment

Has your friend been lately acting in an overly dramatic manner and become obsessed with his or her appearance? Watch out, for your buddy may be suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. Read on to know all about Histrionic Personality Disorder, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a condition that affects the mental makeup of a person. The disease is characterized by the constant eagerness of sufferers to draw attention to them, especially in a way uncharacteristic to their nature.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Gender

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) affects both men and women. However, the condition shows a preference for the female species. Histrionic Personality Disorder in women is more common than men.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Types

Renowned American psychologist has categorized Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) into six subtypes. An individual with HPD may suffer from and exhibit the symptoms of any of these subtypes of the disorder.

Theatrical HPD

People affected with this condition crave for attention. They are excessively romantic and dramatic in their outward behavior.

Infantile HPD

Individuals with infantile type of HPD show minimal features of this condition.

Vivacious HPD

Sufferers typically show high energetic behavior along with seductiveness.

Appeasing HPD

Patients of this kind of HPD show obsessive-compulsive and dependent symptoms of this disorder.

Tempestuous HPD

Sufferers of this kind of HPD show a temper problem but are generally vivacious.

Disingenuous HPD

Disingenuous Histrionic Personality Disorder victims show behavior that society does not approve of. They seek attention in disturbing ways and shift blame of failures on others.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Histrionic Personality Disorder is marked by a number of symptoms. Some of the major Histrionic Personality Disorder traits are :

Over Emphasis on Appearance

People with HPD become obsessed with their appearance and spend many hours grooming themselves to seek accolades and attention.

Dramatic Behavior

HPD sufferers exhibit a dramatic behavior in their speech and actions which strike as unusual to their friends, family members as well as strangers. It is a subconscious way of making their presence felt and get importance from others.

Intolerance to Criticism

HPD affected individuals are seen to be extremely sensitive to criticism. Disapproval of any kind makes them angry and irritated. Outbursts of temper are not uncommon in people with this syndrome.

Sexual Behavior

People suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder are commonly seen to act or look extremely seductive. These individuals flirt in an unusual degree to attract appreciation.

Frustration or Low Tolerance

HPD sufferers get extremely impatient when they face a delay in being gratified. They get frustrated and throw tantrums at being denied the object of their need.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Rage

If a person with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) also suffers from Delusional Disorder, he or she can show angry outbursts and abuse people close to them including romantic partners. Delusional Disorder is another severe mental condition that makes a person suffer from auditory and visual hallucinations.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Causes

The exact cause of Histrionic Personality Disorder is unknown. Medical researchers and doctors, however, have pinpointed several factors as the possible cause of this disorder.

Childhood Neglect

Histrionic Personality Disorder is often believed to be the neglect of a person by his or her parents during childhood. This makes the person prone to emotional insecurity which makes him or her constantly crave for attention and appreciation in any way.


In patients with Histrionic Personality Disorder genetic reasons are also considered. Some medical researchers hold a person’s genes responsible for this syndrome. Many people with HPD are seen to have a parent or elder family member affected with this condition.

Traumatic Events

Traumatic incidents that occurred in the past or during the person’s childhood such as death of a family member, separation of parents or constant tension at home can also act as causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder. Sudden shocking events in adulthood such as divorce, huge financial loss or downfall of social prestige can also give rise to HPD.

Poor Economic Conditions

Extreme financial difficulties encountered during childhood can make a person emotionally unstable to a severe degree. Abnormal behavioral reaction can emerge out of these sufferings ad result in the development of HPD.

Failed Relationships

Failure of a romantic relationship in the past may also act as a trigger for this condition. People are often diagnosed with HPD after a broken relationship. Breaking of a relationship usually hurts the person’s self esteem which makes him or her seek attention in unnatural ways. Constant rejection from a loved one can lead to depression that may trigger HPD in a person.

Malfunctioning of Brain

In people with Histrionic Personality Disorder neurotransmitters can work as another causative factor. Improper functioning of the brain can lead to over secretion of neurotransmitters like Norepinephrine which controls the emotional balance of a human being. Excessive secretion of neurotransmitters can result in the display of over-sentimental behavior or hypersensitivity to criticism. Expert medical professionals can handle this problem with the aid of proper medicines.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Diagnosis

There is no particular Histrionic Personality Disorder test to establish the presence of this syndrome. This being a mental condition is usually detected through observation of overall appearance and behavior of patients. The psychological makeup of the person is analyzed with the help of conversation. His or her medical history is also taken into account. In a person with Histrionic Personality Disorder looks may be affected. The physical appearance can also help in diagnosis of this disease.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Differential Diagnosis

The differential diagnosis for Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) involves distinguishing the condition from other mental disorders that produce similar symptoms such as

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Clinical Depression
  • Somatoform Disorder
  • Panic Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment

The treatment of this condition actually depends on the medical history of the sufferer and the severity of the symptoms. Histrionic Personality Disorder is generally treated with the aid of Psychotherapy. Medications usually have little or no effect in curing the condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy and alternative therapy may also be used for Histrionic Personality Disorder cure and analysis.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Family Support

In many cases, family members of an HPD sufferer may also have to undergo therapy. Family Therapy aims at counseling family members of HPD victims and also those who are close to the. Therapy teaches these people to support assertive behavior of HPD-affected individuals without paying heed to their temper tantrums. This helps family members to manage living with HPD sufferers.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Prognosis

In Histrionic Personality Disorder recovery has a high chance. With effective treatment and psychological counseling, the condition goes away in course of  time. In the absence of treatment, the condition may ruin the personal and professional life of a person. Working with Histrionic Personality Disorder can be very damaging for a person’s professional life as well as his or her workplace.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Complications

This disease makes sufferers behave in an overtly sexual manner which can get them the disrepute of being sexually promiscuous. It can damage their romantic life and cause their partners to move away.

HPD persons find it extremely difficult to cope with criticism or failure. Professional or personal setbacks in HPD affected individuals can lead to depression. Intolerance to criticism and non-appreciation can damage workplace relationships. In people with Histrionic Personality Disorder eating problems can also arise.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Bipolar Problems

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) suffer from vicious mood changes which can be confused with bipolar problems. Individuals with Bipolar disorder suffer from alternating periods of joy and depression. These mood swings can be very abrupt which are quite similar to HPD symptoms. It needs an expert psychiatrist to differentiate Histrionic Personality Disorder experiences from bipolar symptoms.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Famous People

Though many of them are suspected, very few famous people have publicly admitted to be suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. Despite rising awareness, society still regards mental problems as the result of a completely deranged mind. Two famous personalities who were suspected of having this disorder were Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith. Among fictional characters, Scarlett O’ Hara in “Gone with the Wind” is regarded as a HPD sufferer.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Narcissism

Histrionic Personality Disorder is also often confused with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Like HPD sufferers, NPD-affected individuals also show an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They are also haughty, proud and sentimental about themselves. But HPD sufferers also show a sexually provocative behavior that is missing in NPD victims. An expert psychologist can differentiate between NPD and HPD symptoms and detect the condition properly.

If you are spotting Histrionic Personality Disorder effects in a person close to you, it is best to seek immediate medical treatment. Histrionic Personality Disorder untreated can wreak havoc on the personal relationships of a person. Starting medical treatment earlier can keep all future complications at bay and make Histrionic Personality Disorder recovery much faster.











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