What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

A person living with histrionic personality disorder are usually vivacious, enthusiastic, flirtatious, and dramatic.  

histrionic personality disorder

You might have met a person who is too passionate about being in the limelight.  You might even say that his or her attention-seeking antics have become really excessive.  Such a person might have a histrionic personality disorder.  Find out what you can do if you or a person you know is suffering from this condition.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

The first step towards even the slightest degree of healing is awareness.  It is essential for a person to have even the most basic understanding of what he or she is dealing with, in this case, histrionic personality disorder.  Here are some facts about it:

  • The American Psychiatric Association considers this condition a personality disorder.
  • The symptoms of this condition are difficult to observe since behaviors exhibited are those shown by peers. The keyword here is excessive.  If the attention-seeking behaviors and emotions are out of control, then there is a huge possibility that the person is suffering from histrionic personality disorder.
  • A person living with histrionic personality disorder are usually vivacious, enthusiastic, flirtatious, and dramatic.  He or she wants to be recognized hence the person becomes loud or exaggerates behaviors or emotions.  He or she might even go as far as being sexually provocative just to get his or her target’s attention.
  • Other words usually used in conjunction with this disorder are egocentric, self-indulgent, and manipulative.
  • Oftentimes, people with this condition are asked to express their social, professional, or romantic relationships.
  • This condition is more prevalent among women than men.


They history of histrionic personality disorder can be traced back to as early as the Ancient Egyptian times. Scholars would document what would be a modern-day histrionic personality disorder.

It was not until Sigmund Freud came into the picture that it was given the name it is now known for. Freud was known for his studies on hysterical neurosis where symptoms like numbness, blindness, fits, or paralysis afflict a person but without no known cause except for an identified psychological trigger. This led to another offshoot of his study which was histrionic personality disorder also known as hysterical personality. Here, a person exaggerates emotions and behaviors to draw attention to himself or herself.

One quick thing to note:  In the early 1900s, experts referred to Histrionic Personality Disorder as Hysteria.  It was then changed to a hysterical character before it was accepted as a hysterical personality disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some of the most observable characteristics of a person suffering from histrionic personality disorder:

  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism
  • Sexually provocative; May be an exhibionist
  • Influenced by how others think or act
  • Unrestrained emotions
  • Passes on the blame; Zero accountability
  • Too quick in making decisions
  • Impulsive
  • Uncomfortable when he or she is not the leader
  • Shallow expression of emotions
  • Language is over-indulgent and lacking in detail

If these actions have been observed over a long period of time, it is best to have the person be consulted by a doctor. Only the doctor can diagnose for sure the exact condition of the person. With a correct diagnosis, we can chart out a way towards complete healing via proper medical intervention.

Causes and Diagnosis

There is no known cause of histrionic personality disorder.  Some studies show that its roots can be linked to myriad neurochemical, genetic, environmental, and mental factors.

By the time a person turns 15, he or she can already take a psychological evaluation. Taken into account are testimonies of loved ones who really know both the thoughts and experiences of the persons who have histrionic personality disorder and how it is to live with them.


The usual treatment for histrionic personality disorder is through therapy specifically focused on cognitive and psychotherapy. One of the techniques used is coding client and therapist behavior.  Here, the therapist requires that patient to read from a prepared script in order to ascertain the patient’s state of thinking, reasoning, and behaving.

Medication might be needed if there are other mental and psychological concerns that might exacerbate the situation such as depression or bipolar disorder. Again, do not self-medicate.  Make sure you consult a psychiatrist before taking any action.

Outlook and Prevention

People with histrionic personality disorder can function normally on good days.  However, this can be challenged by noise and occasional rowdiness of the people around us. There is no medication that can prevent this disorder. All you can do is to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Also, look at your family’s history. If there is the presence of this disorder in your line, make sure you consult the psychiatrist immediately as a pre-emptive action.

While dealing with a person suffering from histrionic police disorder can be a handful, it should be understood that they need understanding and help as well.  If you know anyone who might be suffering from histrionic personality disorder or if you are taking the pre-emptive way moving forward, maintain honesty, show that you care, and convince that person to see the psychiatrist.  With proper intervention, histrionic personality disorder can be permanently a thing of the past.

histrionic personality disorder

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