Individuals with histrionic personality disorder exhibit excessive emotionality—a tendency to regard things in an emotional manner—and are attention seekers. People with this disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not the center of attention. Behaviors may include constant seeking of approval or attention, self-dramatization, theatricality, and striking self-centeredness or sexual seductiveness in inappropriate situations, including social, occupational, and professional relationships, beyond what is appropriate for the social context. They may be lively and dramatic and initially charm new acquaintances with their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtatiousness. They may also, however, embarrass friends and acquaintances with excessive public displays of emotion, such as embracing casual acquaintances with passion, sobbing uncontrollably over minor setbacks, or having temper tantrums.
People with histrionic personality disorder commandeer the role of "life of the party." Interests and conversation will be self-focused. They use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. Emotional expression may be shallow and rapidly shifting. Their style of speech is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail. They may do well with jobs that value and require imagination and creativity but will probably have difficulty with tasks that demand logical or analytical thinking. The disorder occurs more frequently in women, and estimated prevalence of histrionic personality disorder is 1.84 percent.
Symptoms and Causes
For a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder to be given, five or more of the following nine symptoms must be present:
*Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
*Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
*Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
*Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
*Overly concerned with physical appearance, and using physical appearance to draw attention to self
*Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details
*Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
*Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
*Is highly suggestible (easily influenced by others)
For these symptoms to be considered a disorder, they must cause significant impairment or distress in an individual.
The cause of this disorder is unknown, but childhood events and genetics may both be involved. It occurs more frequently in women than in men, although some feel it is simply more often diagnosed in women because attention seeking and sexual forwardness are less socially acceptable for women than for men.
People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can function well in social and occupational environments. They may seek treatment for depression when romantic relationships end. They often fail to see their own situation realistically, instead tending to overdramatize and exaggerate. Responsibility for failure or disappointment is usually blamed on others. Because they tend to crave novelty and excitement, they may place themselves in risky situations. All of these factors may lead to greater risk of developing depression.
In a relationship, individuals with this condition usually start strong with great excitement, passion, and fanfare. But soon, sabotage follows. The person with the disorder will often find fault and blame for their partner not being ____ enough or being too ____. Fault finding, conflict, blame, minimization, denial, acting like a victim, and/or exaggerated problems soon are found emanating by the person with this condition. Relationship sabotage soon follows. The true challenge of people with this condition is a combination of attachment and emotional intimacy challenges, self-esteem problems, and troubles making oneself vulnerable to properly connect and become close emotionally.
If you meet someone with histrionic personality disorder, please keep your relationship just as friends. If possible, try to find a light, careful moment if possible to direct them to psychotherapy to work on their depression and relationship issues. If you yourself may have histrionic personality disorder, please go seek the proper long-term therapy needed before you try to engage in a committed, long term relationship. Everyone has worth and value, but may not be ready for relationships and marriage. I hope any of those with the condition that are reading this article go get the proper help needed for a qualified, licensed psychotherapist. A healthy, happy future marriage still possible with some hard work, introspection, and the proper development. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
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|2018-04-09||Randy Gilchrist||Psychological health|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).