Histrionic personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by an individual's constant need for attention. These individuals need constant approval and usually manifest inappropriate seductiveness, being very lively, dramatic, enthusiastic and flirtatious. These people typically appear very egocentric, self-indulgent and manipulative to achieve their own needs. On the other hand, they are easily influenced by the others and they are typically unable to cope with normal losses and failures. People affected by histrionic personality disorder usually have a lack of empathy and are typically concerned about their own personal situations, which they usually perceive unrealistically, exaggerating the difficulties. These persons typically act in a dramatic manner, and display emotions very freely. They will probably hug or kiss someone they have just met, or act inappropriately seductive. People with histrionic personality disorder also tend to express Somatic symptoms as a means of garnering other’s attention.
Causes of histrionic personality disorder
Major character traits for this disorder may be inherited or developed in combination with environmental factors. Typically, childhood events have a huge impact in development of this disorder: death in the family, illness, divorce of parents. Sometimes the disorder develops as a result of distant attitudes of parents, or unfulfilled emotional expectations in the childhood.
Treatment for the histrionic personality disorder
This disorder is typically very difficult to treat. People with histrionic personality disorder typically seek treatment and exaggerate their symptoms because they constantly seek for attention. On the other hand, they are often reluctant to terminate therapy, since they constantly seek emotional attention. Psychotherapy for this disorder should be supportive and the goal of therapist is to constantly reassure and rescue the client from daily problems. The real problem lies in the fact these patients are extremely flirtatious, and in most of the cases, they will perceive their therapist as sexually attractive.
The successful psychotherapy should be focused on reaching the short term goals, instead of making the long term personality changes. Some of the most important problems to address are the suicidal behavior and self-mutilation, usually present in this disorder. For this reason, therapists should be careful when prescribing medications to someone with histrionic personality disorder, since these patients may use the medications for self-destructive purposes.
Support groups for people with histrionic personality disorder are very hard to maintain, and they typically do not exist. This is because these patients act very dramatic with others and all of them individually fight for all of the attention and support. As already mentioned, these people often lack empathy.