Histrionic Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

Many people have heard of someone who is a narcissist, or someone always needs to be the center of attention, but the disorder personality Histrionic is actually more than that. People who have this disorder require so much attention that they exaggerate or even completely make up the situations in order to get more attention, unfortunately this can lead to a lot of difficulties between their professional and personal life, causing a lot of from difficulties in any kind of relationship, they can’t really avoid this kind of behavior.

What is histrionic personality disorder?

It is part of a larger group of psychological disorders, called “Class B” personality disorders, where these are generally classified as dramatic, emotional, or erratic in this category. People with this disorder have a distorted mental image of themselves, basing their self-esteem on the approval of others. This creates a need to be noticed and because of this, they can resort to dramatic antics.

People with histrionic personality disorder exhibit excessive emotionality, a tendency to consider things in an emotional way, and are attention-seeking people who feel unappreciated when they are not the center of attention. Behaviors may include constant approval or attention seeking, self-dramatization, theatricality, and surprising self-centeredness or sexual seduction in inappropriate situations, including social, occupational, and professional relationships, beyond what is appropriate for the social context.

They can be lively and dramatic and initially wow new acquaintances with their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtation. However, they can also embarrass friends and acquaintances with excessive public displays of emotion, such as hugging casual acquaintances passionately, sobbing, or throwing tantrums.

The disorder occurs more often in women than in men. Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiological Survey on alcohol and related conditions estimate that the prevalence of histrionic personality disorder is 1.84 percent.

Signs and symptoms of histrionic personality disorder

People with this type of disorder are generally high functioning, both socially and professionally. They generally have good social skills, although they tend to use them to manipulate others and make them the center of attention, it can affect a person’s social and / or romantic relationships, as well as their ability to cope with losses. or failures, they may seek treatment for clinical depression when romantic relationships (or other close personal relationships) end.

People often cannot see their own personal situation realistically, instead of dramatizing and exaggerating their difficulties, they can go through frequent job changes, as they get bored easily and may prefer to withdraw from frustration (rather than face it). Because they tend to crave novelty and excitement, they can put themselves at risk, all of these factors can lead to an increased risk of developing it.

Additional features may include:

  • Exhibitionistic behavior.
  • Constant search for comfort or approval.
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
  • Pride of one’s own personality and unwillingness to change, seeing any change as a threat.
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior of a sexual nature.
  • Using somatic symptoms (of physical illness) to get attention.
  • A need to be the center of attention.
  • Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
  • Rapidly changing emotional states that may seem superficial or exaggerated to others.
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they really are.
  • Make hasty decisions.
  • Blaming others for personal failures or disappointments.
  • Being easily influenced by others, especially those who treat them with approval.
  • Being overly dramatic and emotional.
  • Influenced by the suggestions of others.

Some people with histrionic traits or personality disorder change their seduction technique to a more maternal or paternal style as they age.

What are the causes of histrionic personality disorder?

Little research has been done to find evidence of the causes and their origin. Although the direct causes are not conclusive, there are some theories and studies done that suggest that there are multiple possible causes.

There are neurochemical, genetic, psychoanalytic, and environmental causes that contribute to histrionic personality disorder. Traits such as flamboyance, vanity, and the seduction of hysteria have similar qualities to diagnosed women, symptoms do not fully develop until the age of 15, and treatment only begins at approximately 40 years of age.

Histrionic Personality Disorde

Neurochemical / Physiological

Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between neurotransmitter function and group B personality disorders. Diagnosed individuals have highly sensitive noradrenergic systems that are responsible for the synthesis, storage and release of the neurotransmitter and high levels of norepinephrine lead to a propensity for anxiety, dependence and high sociability.


A study of twins carried out by the department of psychology at the University of Oslo tried to establish a correlation between genetic and group B personality disorders and concluded that there was a correlation of 0.67 that Histrionic Personality Disorder is inherited.

Psychoanalytic theory

Psychoanalytic theories incriminate the authoritarian or distant attitudes of one (primarily the mother) or both parents, along with conditional love based on expectations that the child can never fully fulfill. Using psychoanalysis, Freud believed that lust was a projection of the patient’s inability to love unconditionally and develop cognitively to maturity, and that such patients were generally emotionally superficial.

He believed that the reason he could not love could have been the result of a traumatic experience, such as the death of a close relative during childhood or the divorce of a parent, giving the wrong impression of compromised relationships. Exposure to one or multiple traumatic occurrences of the departure of a close friend or relative (due to abandonment or mortality) would make the person unable to form true and affectionate bonds with other people.

Histrionic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder

Another theory suggests a possible relationship between these two disorders. Research has found that 2/3 of patients diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder also meet similar criteria as antisocial personality disorder, suggesting that both disorders may have the same underlying cause.

Some family history studies have found that histrionic personality disorder, as well as borderline and antisocial personality disorders, tend to run in families, but it is unclear whether this is due to genetic or environmental factors.

Diagnosis for histrionic personality disorder

There is no specific test that is used to diagnose this disorder, if you are concerned about your symptoms and seek medical attention, your GP will likely start with a complete medical history, they may perform a physical exam to rule out any physical problems that you may have. be causing your symptoms.

If your primary care provider doesn’t find a physical cause for your symptoms, they can refer you to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are specifically trained to recognize and treat psychological disorders and you will be able to use expert questions to gain a clear view of the history of your behavior, an accurate assessment will help diagnose it. However, most people with this condition do not believe they need therapy or help, which makes the diagnosis difficult, many of them receive a diagnosis after entering therapy for depression or anxiety, usually after a failed relationship or other conflicts. personal.

What is the treatment for histrionic personality disorder?

A therapist will try to identify underlying anxieties or motivations that could be responsible for a person’s behavior, they will help them to recognize different ways of framing their thought and behavior patterns to improve their social, occupational or academic functioning.

People with this condition do not always feel that they need treatment for their personality disorder and in such cases, they may seek treatment for related mental health conditions such as depression and this could involve antidepressant or anxiolytic treatment.


The psychotherapy is the most common and effective treatment option, this type of therapy involves talking to a therapist about your feelings and experiences. Such talks can help you and your therapist determine the reasoning behind your actions and behaviors, your therapist may be able to help you learn how to relate to people in positive ways, rather than continually trying to get their attention.


If you experience depression or anxiety as part of your disorder, your primary care provider may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Interviews and self-report methods

In general, clinical practice with the assessment of personality disorders, a form of interview is the most popular, an unstructured interview. The preferred method is a semi-structured interview, but there is reluctance to use this type because it may seem impractical or superficial, the reason why a semi-structured interview is preferred over an unstructured interview is that semi-structured interviews tend to be more objective, systematic Replicable, comprehensive, and unstructured, despite their popularity, tend to have unreliability issues and are susceptible to errors that lead to false customer assumptions.

One of the most successful methods for accessing personality disorders by researchers of normal personality functioning is the self-report inventory followed by a semi-structured interview.

Functional ideographic evaluation template

Another example of treatment besides coding is the Functional Ideographic Assessment Template, also known as FIAT, it was used as a way to generalize the clinical processes of functional analytic psychotherapy and was made by a combined effort of therapists and can be used to represent the behaviors that are a focus for this treatment. The use of FIAT therapists can create a common language to obtain stable and accurate communication results through functional analytic psychotherapy at the comfort of the client, just like the therapist.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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