Histrionic Personality Disorder


Histrionic Personality Disorder 

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a type of dramatic/emotional personality disorder characterised by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behaviours, often presenting by early adulthood.  [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”1680″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Individuals with HPD may come across as overly dramatic, erratic, and emotional, often with attention-seeking tendencies. HPD affects approximately 2-3% of the population and shares some overlap with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD; another type of dramatic/emotional personality disorder), making it difficult to differentiate between the two. However, identity  

diffusion and brief psychotic episodes are significantly more common in BPD patients compared to HPD, although it is possible to receive a diagnosis of both disorders.  

To receive a diagnosis of HPD, at least five of the below need to be prevalent::   

  • Experience discomfort in situations where they are not the centre of attention  Interact with others in ways that are sexually inappropriate, seductive or provocative Demonstrate shallow emotional expression which shifts rapidly 
  •  Frequently use physical appearance or features to attract attention ∙ to Speak in grandiose styles that lack detail
  •  Display self-dramatization, theatricality and exaggerated emotional expression ∙ Become easily influenced by others or circumstantial change
  • Believe their relationships to be more intimate than they really are

As such, HPD often manifests in patients as behaviours and habits such as: 

  • Temper tantrums, tears, and accusatory statements when they are not receiving  praise, approval, or sufficient attention
  •  Excitability and behaving in a colourful, dramatic, extroverted manner – as if they  were performing for an audience, with exaggerated expressions and gestures yet  lacking in sincerity
  •  Inability or difficulty to maintain deep, long-lasting relationships
  • Feeling as though their sexual attractiveness and self-image are threatened by  medical illnesses

Currently, there is no medication prescribed to target HPD symptoms directly. However, for patients with comorbid conditions, medication may be prescribed to aid with those symptoms – for example, patients who experience depression or anxiety as part of their HPD may be prescribed antidepressants to relieve their depressive/anxious symptoms. Psychotherapy is the mainstream method of treatment for HPD, with the goal being to help the individual uncover the unconscious motivations, fears, and beliefs associated with their thoughts and behaviour. Treatment also aims to teach the patient to develop more positive ways to relate to and engage with others.