Histrionic Personality Disorder.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to raise awareness of mental health issues. I know it’s fallen to the wayside for car content of late but it’s still something I’m very passionate about.

Today, I discovered Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). I must admit, I’d never heard of it however it’s actually quite a common issue as it affects 2-3% of the population and 65% of  those diagnosed are women. So I thought I’d share a little bit of basic information about the condition to hopefully raise some awareness.

The World Health Organisation’s ICD-10 (which is in essence a big catalogue of illnesses) lists HPD as the following:

“A personality disorder characterized by:

  • shallow and emotionally labile
  • self-dramatizating
  • theatrical
  • exaggerated expression of emotions
  • suggestible
  • egocentric
  • self-indulgent
  • lacks consideration for others
  • easily hurt feelings, and continuous seeking for appreciation, excitement and attention”

There are a few points on that list I would like to expand upon. For a start; the “continuous seeking for appreciation, excitement and attention”. Those with HPD often change jobs as they seek to meet new people and overcome new challenges.

They can often be quite promiscuous as well, they seek the attention and approval of their partners. People with HPD form romantic attachments very quickly and break-ups can be extremely difficult for them.

Another point I’d like to emphasise is theatricality. The definition of histrionic is “excessively theatrical or dramatic in character and style”. People with HPD tend to be very outwardly emotional with both positive and negative feelings. They thrive when they are the centre of attention and feel uncomfortable when they aren’t. They will manipulate a situation so that they do become the centre of attention.

There is a wonderful mnemonic which spells out “PRAISE ME” which can be used to memorise the characteristics of HPD. It is as follows

Provocative behaviour
Relationships are considered more important than they actually are
Attention-seeking
Influenced easily
Style – wants to impress
Emotional lability

Make-Up (physical appearance is used to draw attention)
Exaggerated emotions.

HBD is rarely a stand-alone condition and tends to exist alongside other conditions such as antisocial, borderline, dependant and narcissistic personality disorders as well as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders.

There are no medicinal treatments for HBD although medicines may be used to combat symptoms such as depression. HBD itself is treated with cognitive behavioural therapy or other types of psychotherapy such as functional analytic psychotherapy.

I hope this gave you a bit of an understanding of HPD. I find both personality disorders and personality types really interesting. I think it’s valuable to understand how the other people around interpret the world you are in.

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Thanks for reading.

By Richard Francis

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