What is Histrionic Personality Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

The emotions of some people aren’t stable, and they often experience emotional mood swings. Today, we’ll discuss what is histrionic personality disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder? 

Histrionic personality disorder falls under the category of “cluster-B” PD, and it also goes by the name of dramatic personality disorder. People with HPD condition experience a distorted self-image and a high level of unstable mood. Their self-esteem doesn’t arise from the acknowledgment of their self-worth, and they require the approval of others.

They have got a great desire to be noticed, and they would behave inappropriately and dramatically in order to get the attention of others. The term “histrionic” means theatrical or dramatic. However, the condition is more common among females than males, and it exhibits its symptoms in the early adulthood or adolescent years.

HPD is a very rare mental health condition. According to an estimate, approximately 1% of the people have got this condition.

Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder 

Exhibiting a high level of sexuality, emotionality, and superficiality in order to get the attention of others are some of the main features of histrionic personality. Some of the main symptoms of HPD are as follows;

  • Needing the approval and reassurance of others constantly
  • Want instant gratification and becoming easily frustrated and bored
  • Appear shallow and fake in their interactions with other people
  • Find it difficult to develop and maintain a relationship with others
  • Thinking that their relationship with others is closer than it actually is
  • Easily influenced and gullible by others, especially by the people they receive admiration
  • Expressing strong opinions and speaking dramatically with few details and facts to support views
  • Acting inappropriately sexual with the people they come in contact with, even the people that don’t have the sexual attraction to them
  • Exploiting their physical appearance to attract the attention of others by wearing revealing and bright colored clothes
  • Putting overemphasis on their physical appearances
  • Persistently flirtatious and charming
  • Having the presence of “larger than life”
  • Expressing a high level of emotions and being dramatic with it, and reaches the point where it becomes embarrassing to the public, friends, and family members
  • Shallow emotions and rapidly shifting
  • Feeling depressed or underappreciated when they aren’t the focus of attention
  • Threatening to commit suicide in order to get others’ attention
  • Making rash decisions
  • Acting without thinking

Causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder 

Researchers don’t completely understand histrionic personality disorder. Studies have found some factors that would cause the development of HPD are as follows;

Parenting Style

Children that have experienced inconsistent, over-indulgent, or boundaries lacking parenting style, and they’re more vulnerable to developing HPD condition. Additionally, parents that exhibit inappropriate, volatile, erratic, and dramatic sexual behavior; and amplify the risk of developing this condition. Some researchers say that problematic parent-child relationships cause lower self-esteem issues among people with HPD.

Childhood Trauma

Any type of traumatic experience like the death of a family member or childhood abuse; children may cope with it, but later it becomes problematic or disruptive behavior in their adulthood. It also becomes the main reason for developing a personality disorder.


Some researchers say that HPD could be hereditary, and it runs in the family.

Diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder 

It’s difficult to diagnose a histrionic personality disorder because people with HPD condition don’t think that is a problem with their thinking or behavior. They consult the doctor due to other conditions depression or anxiety caused by their main personality disorder as a result of losing a relationship or divorce.

When your therapist or mental health professional suspects the development of an HPD condition; then they would ask general questions that won’t cause a hostile response. Their questions would revolve around the following areas;

  • Impulse control
  • Reality Testing
  • Previous work history
  • Relationships
  • Previous history

People with HPD condition aren’t aware of their behavior, and the therapist would gather information from their friends and family members. The diagnosis of HPD condition is based on the criteria of DSM-5, and the person would exhibit any of the five following symptoms;

  • Deeming their relationship more intimate than it actually is
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Exaggerated or dramatic emotions
  • Vague or impressionistic speech
  • Exploiting their appearance to attract attention
  • Shallow emotions and shifting
  • Provocative or seductive behavior
  • Feeling uncomfortable when not getting the attention

Treatment of Histrionic Personality Disorder 

Some of the main types of therapeutic approaches that would help a person with an HPD condition are as follows;

  • CBT: it’s a goal-oriented and well-structured therapeutic treatment, and your therapist would help you to closely analyze your emotions and thoughts. You would realize the impact of your thoughts and emotions on your actions. It teaches us to unlearn negative thoughts and emotions and replace them with positive ones.
  • Supportive Therapy: the focus of supportive therapy is to improve coping skills, restore and maintain the self-esteem level, and improve symptoms.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: the goal of this therapy is to diagnose the psychological root cause of the emotional suffering. It employs a self-examination and self-reflection approach to analyze the problematic relationships in various areas of their life.
  • Group Therapy: it’s a type of therapy where a group of people gets together to discuss their problems under the supervision of a therapist. It’s highly beneficial if all the participants are experiencing HPD conditions.

Conclusion: What is Histrionic Personality Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is histrionic personality disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that HPD could negatively impact a person’s life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the therapist in your area.