Home Disorders Personality  

How to Get Rid of Histrionic Personality Disorder - HPD


Histrionic personality disorder involves a pattern of excessive emotional expression and attention seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness. It usually begins in early adulthood.

People with histrionic personality disorder are constant attention seekers. They need to be the center of attention all the time, often interrupting others in order to dominate the conversation. They use grandiose language to discribe everyday events and seek constant praise. They may dress provacatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention. They also tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believing that everyone loves them. They are often manipulative.

Exaggerated and often inappropriate displays of emotional reactions, approaching theatricality, in everyday behavior. Sudden and rapidly shifting emotion expressions.

Causes of histrionic personality disorder

There have been few objective studies of the causes of this personality disorder. The genetics of histrionic personality disorder has not been studied with standardized methods of assessment, and the few reported investigation have yielded inconsistent findings. Psychoanalytic explanations relate this disorder either to failure to resolve Oedipal conflicts or to oral conflicts.

The Histrionic Personality Disorder is only rarely found in men. In these instances there may be additional difficulties with regard to this person's sexual identification. Not every professional would agree with this last statement but it has certainly been the experience of this writer.

An increased desire to be seductive

Histrionic personality disorder involves a person being more seductive than what one needs to be. A person will end up being more interested in sexual behaviors with other people even if they are in situations where they should not be doing so. A person will want to engage in different sexual activities or be more suggestive of these ideas at varying times.

Overly concerned with one’s appearance

A big part of this seductiveness can involve a person being more interested in looking to see that one’s appearance is perfect. This is so a person might be more appealing to people of the opposite sex. This concern with one’s appearance may end up being too extreme and rough for someone to handle. It can cause a person to develop an unrealistic impression of the self.

A desire to be the main part of attention

Some people with histrionic personality disorder are ones that want to be the big parts of one’s attention. They want people to focus on them above all things. This is because they feel that by being the centers of attention they can get their ways.

Easily influenced

A person with this disorder is someone who is going to be easily influenced by other people. The person will feel that one is more likely to be led onto different things by different people and that the person is going to be easily suggested towards different things. This can be a real challenge to work with.

Exaggerated responses

Exaggerated responses are common among people with this disorder. This symptom suggests that a person can be more likely to be theatrical and upset with different types of things. This is something that can easily relate to one’s desire to be the center of attention in different things in life.

Diagnostic Criteria of Histrionic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
  2. interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  3. displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  4. consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
  5. has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  6. shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  7. is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
  8. considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

Treatment of Histrionic Personality Disorder

People with the condition do not generally appear for treatment unless the "wheels have fallen off", or the behavior is severely limiting their ability to operate in a self supporting way. Because they are so needy, they are reluctant to cut off the therapy since they have a captive audience.

Treatment is often prompted by depression associated with dissolved romantic relationships. Medication may be helpful with symptoms such as depression. Psychotherapy may also be of benefit.

Establishing good rapport and trust is important, but avoiding a dependent situation with a needy patient is also important.  Therapy should emphasize that the goal is not to cure, but rather to alleviate the worst elements of the behavior that is causing the problem.

Mental health intervention may allow people who are prone to this condition to learn more effective ways of understanding and dealing with their needs.

Features of histrionic personality disorder

Although histrionic personality disorder is included in both ICD-10 and DSM-IV, the criteria adopted are somewhat different. This shows the features that are diagnostic criteria in ICD-10 and notes also the criteria which differ between the two systems.

  • Self dramatization
  • Shallow, labile effect
  • Suggestibility
  • Over-concern with pysical attractiveness
  • Seeks attention and excitement

Note: DSM-IV has two additional criteria:

  • Speech excessively impressionistic; and
  • considers relationships more intimate than they are.

Facts and Tips about Histrionic (hysterical) personality

  • Histrionic personality is a personality disorder in which person show excessive emotions, dramatic, look for attention, sexual provocative behavior, enthusiastic, conflict in interpersonal relationships.
  • Histrionic personality disorder generally start at early adulthood and more commonly found in female than male.
  • Childhood events such as death of family member, divorce of parents and genetics may give rise to histrionic personality disorder.
  • Person with histrionic personality is successful in social and professional life. But if problem occur in romantic life they undergo high level of depression which may lead to psychosomatic disorders, alcohol and drug addication.
  • Family therapy, medications, alternative therapies are helpful in treatment of histrionic personality.

My life has been destroyed by my histrionic wife. She refuses to acknowledge that she even has a problem. It's almost impossible to get her to reach within herself and recognize who she is and what she's done to our lives. These people hide their real selves from everyone but especially themselves. It's almost as if they are trapped and they want everyone trapped with them in their false world. They deny reality and most people dont even know that the people they are living with have a whole other life that they are leading. They are masters at manipulation and are pathalogical liers. They belive their own lies.
Jon (5/16/2006)

does the sufferes of histrionic personality disorder have some bad childhood experience due to the lack of self confidence and think of themselves as a centre of the world attention?
Pasupati Gurung (3/09/2006)

I had a counselor diagnos me as having a histrionic personality, and I really don't want to be the center of attention.  My family never listened to me, my father was an alcoholic, my mother had heightened emotions, and I have been physically abused. I had severe pms symptoms and marital problems.  I don't like what she said and I don't think I fit the profile.  It makes me upset that she just blurted this out in front of my now ex-husband.
Mary (3/21/2006)

I get upset over little things. Alot of the time i cant control getting upset over them. Is there any way to treat something like this, beside medication? - sarah

iv done a lot of reading on this subject and have come to think i might have this histrionic personality disorder- i get bored incredibly easily,im always longing for something new and exciting, i get upset or angry over the tiniest things, bursting into tears or shouting, at the time i cant think but afterwards i feel embarrassed at my behaviour.
im scared to enter into relationships now for fear of losing or hurting my partner and this is becomging a problem for me.
i would really ppreciate if you could reply, i just dont know what to do anymore. - sophie

I'm concerned that I may have HPD. I'm guessing but I believe I'm in the right ball park. And I don't know what to do to help myself. I've been on my own since I was 14 and I believe I developed poor coping skills. - Maria

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

Stay Connected with DG


Current Issue

Self Help Leaflets

Take the help of our self help leaflets or booklets.

The DG Magazine

All about living with depression

Personality Disorders