Individuals with histrionic personality will be craving for attention and emotionally unstable. They cannot be comfortable when they are not the center of attention in a gathering. They exhibit inappropriate behavior to draw the attention of opposite sex. In their view physical appearances counts a lot for drawing attention and hence they spend more time on showing themselves as attractive.
The other name for histrionic personality disorder is “dramatic” personality disorder since people with this problem will be highly emotional and do anything for the approval of others. They often behave inappropriate or dramatic manner for getting noticed. Their expressions are highly dramatic and theoretical. They can be easily influenced by situations and circumstances. They give more attention for relationship than for their self-worthiness.
Salient Features :
Important traits of histrionic personality are :
- Emotionally unstable and unrealistic
- Exhibit more of dramatic expression
- Attention seeking behavior all the time
- Lack of genuineness and chastity
- Not bothered about the consequences of their behavior
Their emotional instability and antagonistic behavior will put them in trouble in school or workplace, but they don’t care for the consequences. Very often histrionic type of behavior begins in childhood or early teens. These people are highly dependent on their partners and seek to control them through emotional blackmailing and seductive acts.
These people don’t give importance for old relationships since they are excited to make new relations. Their emotional instability will induce them to change their emotions rapidly. It is difficult to predict about their emotions since they are highly unstable in controlling their emotions. The symptoms are visible during adolescence and histrionic personality disorder is more prevalent in women than men.
The individual with histrionic disorder will remain uncomfortable and restless if he/she is not the center of attraction. Some experts are of view that attention craving behavior will start as early as childhood in these people. Their dressing manner is provocative and often they exhibit seductive behavior. Their emotions will change rapidly and they act dramatically with heightened emotions. There will not be any sincerity or genuineness in their expressions.
These people give utmost preference for their appearance. They can be easily cheated by others since they never think before acting. They are extremely sensitive to criticism. For getting noticed they will go to any extent even making suicide attempts. They seldom maintain relationships since they keep on changing relationships.
Exact cause of histrionic personality disorder is unknown, but experts believe that it can be inherited. The same personality disorder may run in families suggesting that genes play a vital role in shaping the personality.
Neuro-Chemical Approach :
It has been proved that people with histrionic personality have malfunction of neurotransmitters. Signals are received and transmitted by nerve cells through nor-epinephrine. Only these signals determine the way in which a person behaves. For people with HPD these impulses will not function at normal rate. This can be the reason for such behavior.
Developmental Factor :
Traumatic experience in childhood can influence his behavior and change his personality. Severe forms of histrionic personality disorder can occur if the child suffers disapproval from his parents during early childhood. Environmental factors can also influence one’s personality.
The doctor will look for the above signs and symptoms and gather information about the character of the affected person. He may order for blood tests and imaging tests to rule out any possibilities of physical illness. A psychiatrist will be assigned to diagnose the nature of mental illness. She will use different set of tools for assessing the type of personality.
Following any treatment plan is really a difficult task for the concerned person, because they might not like routine tasks. Also they often give excuses of various reasons for their behavior and exaggerated feelings. Psychotherapy is the effective approach for treating a person with histrionic type personality. Through repeated cognitive therapy the person will become aware of his problem which may be helpful in changing his feelings and behavior. Psychologists will motivate them and help them to learn about the ways in which one is expected to behave in a society.
Cognitive behavior therapy uses more systematic approach for focusing on the problems faced by people with histrionic type personality. This therapy is aimed in reducing the irrelevant thoughts of those affected with HPD and stresses on the importance of taking care of “self”. It would also focus on identifying the automatic thoughts to reduce their impulsive behavior. Therapists would use many novel methods for decreasing their dramatic behavior. They would also adopt modeling techniques to teach them about the ill effects of theatrical behavior on others.
Group therapy and family therapy are also effective in overcoming the dramatic behavior of these people. In case of severe depression medications are prescribed to overcome the symptoms. Except for few severe cases, others who have histrionic personality disorder can manage their lives with the help of psychologist and family support. Meditation techniques have been widely used to help the HPD patients to improve their concentration on their inner feelings. Hypnosis method is administered by psychologists to relax their inner mind to overcome their dramatic behavior.