What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

If you or someone you love is struggling with extreme emotions and personality issues, you might ask, “what is histrionic personality disorder” or “is there histrionic personality disorder treatment?” A histrionic personality disorder is a severe mental health disorder, but with proper treatment, you can learn to improve the signs and symptoms. 

Water Gap Wellness Center offers high-quality mental health treatment at our Pennsylvania mental health retreat, with a step-down approach to care. We can help you treat histrionic personality disorder and any concurrent mental health issues you might have.


What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

A histrionic personality disorder is a personality disorder sometimes called a dramatic personality disorder. It is classified under the same category as:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder, and 
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

With this, people display patterns of attention-seeking behavior and exaggerated emotions

2-3% of people with a personality disorder have a histrionic personality disorder, according to research. It often starts in the late teens or early twenties. Women are four times more likely to have a diagnosis than men. 

People who ask, “what is histrionic personality disorder” might display traits like volatility, excitability, drama, manipulation, impulsivity, or flirtation. 

There are many causes:


Histrionic personality disorder often runs in families, so it’s thought that there is a genetic link. If another member of your family displays signs of histrionic personality disorder, it’s important to get a diagnosis yourself.

Childhood Trauma

Early childhood trauma, like child abuse, can result in later developing a personality disorder, including histrionic personality disorder.

Parenting Styles

Experience with parenting styles completely void of boundaries, inconsistent, or over-indulgent is more likely to contribute to the development of histrionic personality disorder. Parents who display volatile or inappropriate sexual behavior or similar dramatic behavior increase the likelihood of their children developing the condition later.


What Are the Signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder?

People who ask, “what is histrionic personality disorder” might need to know the signs and symptoms to determine whether it might be time for help. 

  • Many people needing histrionic personality disorder treatment feel disregarded or underappreciated when anyone else is the center of attention. 
  • Often, those with a histrionic personality disorder will be overly seductive or inappropriately sexual with everyone, even those to whom they are not attracted or with whom such displays are entirely inappropriate. 
  • Usually, those with histrionic personality disorder live a life full of partying and socialization, often described by others as having a personality or presence that is “larger than life.”
  • Sometimes people wear lots of bright clothes or revealing items to draw attention to themselves physically.
  • Those with histrionic personality disorder might display extreme emotions, be dramatic, and show a lot of public emotional displays. 
  • Those with this disorder can rapidly shift their emotional state or come across as shallow. 


How to Treat Histrionic Personality Disorder

If you or someone you love shows signs, then the right histrionic personality disorder treatment is imperative after a diagnosis. 

For a diagnosis to be given, someone has to display five or more of the following:

  • They are uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention.
  • They display seductive and provocative behavior.
  • They shift their emotions and display shallow emotions.
  • They use their appearance to draw attention.
  • They use impressionistic or vague speech.
  • They display exaggerated or dramatic emotions.
  • Others easily influence them.
  • They think their relationships are more intimate than they are

The best treatment involves psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a non-threatening and encouraging therapy that can improve self-esteem, develop coping skills, and reduce emotional distress.

Psychodynamic therapies like insight-oriented therapy are also recommended in some cases. This treatment helps identify the important emotional milestones someone may have missed growing up and achieve them in the present. It can also resolve any underlying conflicts that interfere with one’s understanding of themselves and their behaviors. 

Some aspects of this talk therapy can help change communication by replacing overly dramatic speech with more adaptive behaviors. Similarly, it can help people recognize attention-seeking or hyper-sexual behaviors and replace them with healthier behaviors and improved self-esteem.

Water Gap Wellness Center offers histrionic personality disorder treatment with a structured, step-down approach. We can start you with an inpatient or residential treatment program and move you to intensive outpatient programs and standard outpatient programs as your condition becomes more manageable. We focus more on individual therapy for this type of personality disorder over group or family therapy because of the inherent desire to be inappropriately sexual or the center of attention. However, with the right therapies, we help people control their feelings and develop healthier behaviors. 


If you are ready for help, let Water Gap Wellness Center start your histrionic personality disorder treatment. 

About WGWC

Water Gap Wellness Center offers expert and compassionate treatment for mental health and substance abuse at our Pennsylvania facility, just outside New Jersey, a short drive from New York. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you today. 

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