How Do You Know If You Have Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Reviewed on 2/25/2021

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, a psychiatric disorder, include a persistent pattern of attention-seeking behavior and extreme emotionality.
Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, a psychiatric disorder, include a persistent pattern of attention-seeking behavior and extreme emotionality.

Histrionic personality disorder is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of attention-seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. 

What Are Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder include a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking that starts by early adulthood and is noted in a range of situations, as demonstrated by five (or more) of the following:

  • Discomfort in situations in which the person is not the center of attention
  • Inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior with others
  • Quickly shifting and shallow expressions of emotions
  • Physical appearance is used to gain attention 
  • Speech style is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  • Self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  • High suggestibility, is easily influenced by others or circumstances
  • Perceives relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

What Causes Histrionic Personality Disorder?

The cause of histrionic personality disorder is unknown. Possible causes may include: 

  • Biological and genetic factors 
  • Social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with others)
  • Psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by environment and learned coping skills)

How Is Histrionic Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

Histrionic personality disorder is usually diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for histrionic personality disorder involves a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention.
  2. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.
  3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions.
  4. Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self.
  5. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.
  6. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion.
  7. Is suggestible (i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances).
  8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

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What Is the Treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Treatment for histrionic personality disorder usually involves long-term counseling, and sometimes medications. 

Therapies used to treat histrionic personality disorder include: 

  • Cognitive therapy (CT) 
    • Focuses on specific and concrete treatment goals created collaboratively between client and clinician
  • Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) 
    • Time-limited to 16 sessions
    • Consists of three processes: reformulation, recognition, and revision
    • A type of collaborative therapy that helps individuals identify patterns in relationships that have led to self-defeating, unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) 
    • Based on the principle that problems individuals experience in relationships also occur in sessions with a therapist
  • There are no medications currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat histrionic personality disorder. Medications are usually used to treat other conditions that occur at the same time, such as: 

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Reviewed on 2/25/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-personality-disorders?search=Histrionic%20Personality%20Disorder&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~20&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H4259153014

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/histrionic-personality-disorder