Signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder, According to Therapists
BEING EXCESSIVELY EMOTIONALbehave provocatively around people you barely know and strive to still Be the center of interest can describe someone you know. This person can be incredibly fun to be around at times, and downright embarrassing at other times.
In extreme cases, these behaviors can be signs of histrionic personality disorder (HPD).
The American Psychiatric Association characterizes the disorder as “excessive emotion and attention seeking”. People with HPD may feel uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention, use their physical appearance drawing attention to themselves and having exaggerated or rapidly changing emotions.
More Men’s Health
“People with HPD can be quite captivating to others because they come across as charming, enthusiastic, lively, and attractive,” says Kelly Workman, Doctor of Psychology, BCBAlicensed clinical psychologist and founder of Mindset Wellness and Consulting.
Theatrical behavior, superficiality, self-centeredness, and being easily hurt by others are other characteristics of HPD. “They are very concerned with impressing others and will subsequently engage in behaviors that put them in the center of attention,” she says.
But, it’s important to note that just because someone enjoys being the center of attention and can sometimes act overly dramatic doesn’t necessarily mean they have a personality disorder, Workman points out. A person must display a pattern of these behaviors that is chronic and pervasive, and that interferes with some aspect of their life.
HPD is one of 10 clinically diagnosable personality disorders, but you might not hear about it as much as others, like narcissistic Where Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But, he made headlines during the Defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in the summer of 2022. A psychologist hired by Depp said Heard suffered from THB and borderline personality disorder.
What is histrionic personality disorder?
People with HPD tie their self-esteem to the approval of others rather than their own worth, according to Cleveland Clinic. They want to be noticed, so much so that they will behave dramatically or inappropriately, and they might not realize that their behavior or thoughts are problematic.
HPD is classified as a Cluster B personality disorderthat involves dramatic, excitable, erratic, or volatile behavior. Narcissistic, limitand antisocial personality disorders are also part of group B.
Signs of HPD include:
- Needing to be the center of attention and feeling underappreciated and depressed when they aren’t
- Constantly seeking the approval of others
- Having rapidly changing and shallow emotions
- Displaying dramatic or overly emotional behavior – to the point where it is embarrassing to others
- Demonstrate a larger than life personality
- Being a persistent flirt or charmer
- Being too preoccupied with physical appearance
- Using physical appearance to attract attention
- Sexually inappropriate behavior with others, including strangers
- Being easily influenced by others
- Believing that relationships are closer than they are – and having trouble maintaining relationships
- Seek instant gratification and become easily bored or frustrated
“There are many outgoing people who are also impulsive, but that’s not the same as HPD,” Workman says. “Many people will display personality disorder traits, but will not actually meet the criteria for a personality disorder.”
Behaviors are considered a personality disorder when the pattern is chronic and pervasive in different personal and social situations and creates significant distress in other areas of functioning, she says. And, the behaviors usually begin by the time someone reaches early adulthood.
The exact cause of HPD isn’t known, but it’s likely linked to genetics, childhood abuse or other trauma, and parents who lack boundaries, are overforgiving or inconsistent, according to the Cleveland. Clinic.
How is it different from narcissism
HPD and narcissistic personality disorders are different, but they have overlapping characteristics. Both are cluster B disorders and exhibit erratic and dramatic behavior.
“While people with narcissistic personality disorder also seek attention, they tend to be motivated by a desire to be recognized and acknowledged as superior, as this relates to their inflated sense of self-esteem. self,” says Workman.
People with HPD are willing to be seen as frail or dependent if they receive attention for it, she explains.
What It’s Like To Live With Histrionic Personality Disorder
Relationships are difficult for people with HPD. Emotional intimacy is difficult for them, as they sometimes perceive relationships as closer than they really are. Their emotions or interactions may also come across as false or superficial.
“They may waver between wanting to control their partner and being too dependent on their partner,” says Workman. “Their constant need for attention can lead to alienating their friends. They could easily become bored with routines and have difficulty tolerating delayed gratification.
People with HPD often struggle with depression when they don’t get enough attention, she says. They are also more at risk of making suicidal gestures and threats to get attention. They might also have somatic symptom disorderwhere someone focuses on physical pain or illness to get attention, or messy conversionwhere a person has symptoms like blindness or paralysis that cannot be medically explained.
“Often, people with personality disorders have difficulty recognizing the impact their behavior has on others, which can lead to difficulties in various aspects of life,” says Workman.
How is the disorder treated?
People with HPD experience significant distress and need treatment, Workman says. But, there is no specific treatment for the disorder.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been helpful for many personality disorders, she adds. “CBT-based treatments will focus on identifying targets for behavior change and identifying ways to alter thought patterns.”
Workman says small studies have shown some HPD patients improved after functional analytical psychotherapywhere therapists focus on what happens during therapy sessions to shape interpersonal behaviors, emotional awareness, and self-expression, and clarification-focused psychotherapywhich emphasizes self-regulation and motivation in interpersonal interactions and relationships.
“There is no cure for HPD,” says Workman. “However, individuals can continue to live meaningful and productive lives. Those who participate in therapy tend to have better results.
Erica Sweeney is a writer who primarily covers health, wellness, and careers. She has written for The New York Times, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Parade, Money, Business Insider and many more.