Histrionic personality disorder
We recognise that the system of personality disorder diagnosis can be considered controversial. It is completely your choice which term, if any, you want to use, knowing that your doctor or care team may use another.
We appreciate that the feelings and behaviours associated with personality disorders are very difficult to live with, and everyone deserves understanding and support. We recognise the diversity in understanding of experiences and preferences around terms individuals may wish to use. We are also aware that some professionals disagree with the system of personality disorder diagnosis, and that some people given the diagnosis find it unhelpful and stigmatising.
The terms used on Counselling Directory are those that are generally used in the UK, currently. We refer to these terms throughout, with the hope of reaching and supporting as many people as possible.
Histrionic personality disorder is characterised by constant attention seeking and discomfort from not being the centre of attention. Often interrupting others to dominate the conversation, histrionics are sometimes referred to as drama queens with their theatrical performances and gestures. Those with the disorder may dress provocatively to gain the attention they crave, and be sexually seductive in inappropriate situations.
On this page
Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder
- exaggerated emotions
- constantly seeking reassurance and approval
- extreme sensitivity to disapproval and criticism
- excessive dramatics
- rapidly shifting emotional states
- inappropriate behaviour
- extreme concern over physical appearance
- tendency to believe relationships are more intimate than they are.
Causes of histrionic personality disorder
The cause of histrionic personality disorder is still unknown. As with all personality disorders, a variety of factors are usually believed to contribute to the disorder. However, genetic and learned characteristics are commonly thought to contribute to the development of this disorder.
Treatment of histrionic personality disorder
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder often seek treatment for depression when relationships dissolve. The disorder is usually treated with psychotherapy, as with most personality disorders. Medication is sometimes prescribed, however should not be given for long periods of time.
What should I be looking for in a counsellor or psychotherapist?
Whilst there are currently no official regulations in place that stipulate what level of training and experience a counsellor needs to treat histrionic personality disorder, we do recommend that you check your therapist is experienced in the area for which you are seeking help.
The NHS recommends psychotherapy as a form of treatment for personality disorders.
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What our experts say
- Understanding personality disorders: Symptoms and treatment
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT Practitioner19th May, 2016
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