Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder Histrionic personality disorder is marked by high attention and admiration seeking; exaggerated and dramatic emotions are the most predominant features of this mental condition. Other more dangerous traits that may be associated with behaviors include egocentrism, hedonism, continuous desire for appreciation, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve one’s own goals. […]

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic personality disorder is marked by high attention and admiration seeking; exaggerated and dramatic emotions are the most predominant features of this mental condition. Other more dangerous traits that may be associated with behaviors include egocentrism, hedonism, continuous desire for appreciation, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve one’s own goals.

HPD lies in the dramatic cluster of personality disorders, also known as Cluster B.[1] People with HPD have a high desire for attention, make loud and inappropriate appearances, exaggerate their behaviors and emotions, and crave stimulation. There are not very clear histrionic personality disorder examples, but its pattern of excessive attention-seeking, emotionality, and the need for approval are the common traits.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Their behavior is based on dramatic, inappropriate, and even sexualized appearances as a means of attraction, flirting, and seduction[2].

Perhaps this is one of the personality disorders whose traits are very marked and easy to recognize. However, some individuals do not take their dramatic responses to extremes as others do.

  • Experience a sense of being undervalued or discouraged when they are not the focal point of attention.
  • Display swiftly changing and superficial emotions.
  • Tend to be theatrical and exceptionally expressive emotionally, sometimes causing discomfort for friends and family in public settings.
  • Project a “larger than life” aura.
  • Consistently exude charm and flirtatious behavior.
  • Place excessive emphasis on their physical appearance.
  • Utilize their appearance to garner attention, often through brightly colored or revealing clothing.
  • Engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with a majority of acquaintances, irrespective of genuine attraction.
  • Communicate with flair, expressing strong opinions without substantial facts or supporting details.
  • Demonstrate a susceptibility to influence, particularly from those they admire.
  • Overestimate the intimacy of their relationships, believing connections are closer than they truly are.
  • They struggle to maintain meaningful relationships, occasionally appearing insincere or superficial in their interactions.
  • Crave instant gratification and quickly become bored or frustrated.
  • Perpetually seek reassurance or approval.

Extreme Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Medical Fake Diagnosis: Some extreme behaviors can be self-sabotage, inventing non-existent medical conditions, just to get attention [3]. As well as ‘suffering’ from other types of mental problems of which they are not victims. There are some extreme and risk symptoms of histrionic personality disorder:

Extremely Flirtation: With the need for attention, sexual advances can be taken to another level, harming them at work and putting them in risky sexual situations such as unprotected sex or promiscuity. [4]

Manipulative Suicidal Gestures: Using manipulative suicidal gestures to evoke a strong emotional response from others, without genuine intent to self-harm.

Bad Financial Decisions: Poor common sense affects financial decisions because, in order to attract attention, they tend to have expensive clothes, exclusive items from fashion houses, luxurious cars, and other extravagant expenses that many people see in the market.

Constantly Changes: They may also change jobs frequently, just as they tend to get bored easily and may prefer to quit out of frustration (rather than deal with it). This is why they are always looking for a novel and exciting, which could lead them into dangerous situations.

Substance Abuse: Turning to substance abuse as a means of coping with emotional fluctuations or seeking intense experiences.

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Histrionic Personality Disorder Causes

People who have an actual HPD, not just tendencies, are dramatic, like attention, may be seen as superficial, etc., but that doesn't mean they can't truly love. Their histrionicity may be fun and attactive at times, or not so much at other times.
People who have an actual HPD, not just tendencies, are dramatic, like attention, may be seen as superficial, etc., but that doesn’t mean they can’t truly love. Their histrionicity may be fun and attactive at times, or not so much at other times.

Limited research has been conducted to identify the precise origins of histrionic personality disorder. While direct causes remain uncertain, multiple theories and studies propose potential factors, including neurochemical, genetic, psychoanalytic, or environmental influences. Women diagnosed with HPD often exhibit traits such as extravagance, vanity, and seductiveness akin to hysteria. The symptoms of HPD usually do not fully manifest until around the age of 15, and on average, individuals seek treatment at approximately 40 years of age [5].

  • Genetics: JPD tends to run in families, so scientists think there may be a genetic (inherited) link.
  • Childhood trauma: Children may cope with trauma, such as child abuse or the death of a family member, that later as an adult may be disruptive or problematic in their life and become part of a personality disorder.
  • Parenting styles: Children who experience parenting styles that lack boundaries, are over-indulgent or inconsistent may be more likely to develop histrionic personality disorder. In addition, parents who display dramatic, erratic, volatile or inappropriate sexual behavior put their children at risk for developing this condition. Some researchers think that problems in parent-child relationships lead to the characteristic low self-esteem in people with HPD.

How Common is Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder affects four times more women than men.1 It has a prevalence of 2-3% of the general population and 10-15% of admissions to and discharges from mental institutions [6].

Many people have some of these traits but are still able to function normally and do not have a personality disorder. A personality disorder is a long-term pattern of behaviour, thinking and emotions that causes distress to the person or those around them, and makes it difficult for the person to function in everyday life.

Ignoring Someone With Histrionic Personality Disorder

Dealing with someone who has Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), it’s crucial to approach interactions with empathy and understanding. Ignoring them entirely may not be the most effective or compassionate strategy such as communicating your boundaries and expectations for the relationship, respectfully you can express what kind of behavior is unacceptable to you.

If you educate yourself about the Histrionic personality disorder symptoms, you can act in a loving way to not hurt your loved one, instead of that you can help them to seek help and cope some dangerous behaviors.

Confronting Someone With Histrionic Personality Disorder

  1. Establish Clear Boundaries: Clearly communicate your boundaries and expectations for the relationship. Be firm but respectful in expressing what behavior is acceptable to you [9].
  2. Avoid Reinforcing Attention-Seeking Behavior: Refrain from rewarding excessive attention-seeking behavior. Instead, acknowledge and positively reinforce more balanced or appropriate conduct.
  3. Remain Calm and Consistent: Stay calm and consistent in your responses. Avoid reacting dramatically to their emotional expressions and focus on maintaining a steady and composed demeanor.
  4. Encourage Healthy Communication: Encourage open and honest communication without encouraging drama. Emphasize the importance of expressing feelings and thoughts constructively.
  5. The most important guide them to seek treatment and therapy.
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Histrionic Personality Disorder Test

Of course, there are online tools to define and suggest a mental health problem, but they are not the same as a medical consultation with a specialized team. Here at We Leve Up Texas we offer you the online test for histrionic personality disorder, a test based on medical studies and the most common traits of this condition.

Take for free and follow the suggestion which each grade/result give to you.

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Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment

  • Diagnostic Assessment: Our experienced mental health professionals conduct thorough assessments to accurately diagnose the Histrionic personality disorder and identify any co-occurring conditions. This forms the foundation for a personalized treatment plan.
  • Individualized Therapy: We offer evidence-based individual therapy tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Our compassionate therapists use approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) to address anxious, avoidant, and fearful behaviors.
  • Group Therapy: Group sessions provide a supportive environment for individuals with Histrionic personality disorder to share experiences, learn from one another, and practice new skills in social interactions. Group therapy helps build confidence and reduces the sense of isolation.

Overcoming Histrionic Personality Disorder. Find the Support You Need.

Overcoming Histrionic Personality Disorder is often a challenging process to go through alone. However, you can manage Histrionic personality disorder symptoms and successfully recover with therapy and a robust support system at the We Level Up treatment centers. If you require assistance with your mental health recovery journey, contact a We Level Up treatment professional now. Your call is free and confidential.

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  1. Bienenfeld, David (2006). “Personality Disorders”
  2. French, J.; Shrestha, S. (2020). “Histrionic Personality Disorder”
  3.  PubMed Health; «Histrionic personality disorder».
  4. Ferguson, C. J. (2011). “Sexting behaviors among young Hispanic women: Incidence and association with other high-risk sexual behaviors”
  5. National Center of Biotechnology Information; Histrionic Personality Disorder
  6. E. David Klonsky, MA, J. Serrita Jane, PhD, Eric Turkheimer, PhD, and Thomas F. Oltmanns, PhD; GENDER ROLE AND PERSONALITY DISORDERS
  7. Australian Health Direct – Histrionic personality disorder
  8. Pfohl, B. (1995). Histrionic personality disorder. The DSM IV Personality Disorders, 173–192
  9. Nickert, J. (n.d.) Histrionic Personality Disorder.
  10. Chapter 16: Personality Disorders”. DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing. 2000.