Histrionic Personality Disorder: Top Five Symptoms

Friday, 15 Oct 2010 09:26 AM

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a condition in which a person acts in an excessively emotional and dramatic manner to get attention. Characteristics of this disorder include obsession with physical appearance, extreme extroversion, and inappropriate sexually seductive behavior. 
With a seemingly engaging personality and emotional effervescence, a person with HPD may blend in to society. Ironically, society often promotes HPD traits, which makes it all the more difficult for a patient to admit they have a problem and seek treatment.
People with HPD may have qualities that make them the center of attention, but many of them are plagued with a sense of inadequacy and inferiority. They may also be expressive with their emotions, but the emotions displayed may not be situationally appropriate. "Histrionic" refers to the dramatic outbursts people with HPD engage in. A person with HPD can literally fly off the handle, throw a temper tantrum, and create a scene at the slightest pretense. They can also try to make others accomodate their wishes through emotional blackmail.

The top five Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms are: 
1. Constant craving for attention 
Many of the problems faced by a person with HPD stem from attention-seeking behavior. The individual may dress provocatively, wear revealing clothes, or wear gaudy make-up or outlandish hairstyles. Their behavior can be loud, flirtatious, and overly dramatic in an attempt to get attention. 
2. Extreme sensitivity to/for approval 
An HPD sufferer is extremely influenced by their emotional environment and needs constant approval from others. If the approval is not forthcoming, they can react in an unpredictable manner.       
3. Excessively emotional state
A person with HPD may express themselves in an exaggerated manner through self-dramatization and a high level of theatrics. Their speech may be impressionistic and devoid of details.
4. Problems with relationships
Things may go down hill when a person with HPD enters a relationship. They may constantly pester their partner for affirmation about how they look or how smart they are.
5. Unstable moods
An individual with HPD suffers from unstable moods. They may be completely self-absorbed and cut off from others. For no apparent reason, the person can be on cloud nine at one moment and down in the dumps the very next instant.  
Histrionic personality disorder treatment 
As a personality disorder, HPD can be hard to diagnose because many sufferers fail to see their behavior as problematic. In many cases, people may voluntarily go to a psychiatrist only after a violent romantic break-up or when they are being ostracized socially for their uncaring, self-absorbed behavior.  
There are no formal histrionic personality disorder tests to confirm this mental illness. However, a psychiatrist can diagnose HPD by observing an individual’s behavior, history, and overall appearance and through psychological evaluation. Experts believe that HPD has both genetic and social origins. As a treatment, psychologists may prescribe antidepressants for behavioral issues and may employ long-term psychotherapy and counseling to show the sufferers where their behavior is leading them.

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