Histrionic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Cause of histrionic personality disorder is unknown. Genes and early childhood events may be responsible. It is diagnosed more often in women than in men. Doctors believe that more men may have the disorder than are diagnosed.
Histrionic personality disorder usually begins by late teens or early 20s.
People with this disorder are usually able to function at a high level and can be successful socially and at work.
Acting or looking overly seductive
Being easily influenced by other people
Being overly concerned with their looks
Being overly dramatic and emotional
Being overly sensitive to criticism or disapproval
Believing that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
Blaming failure or disappointment on others
Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
Having a low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification
Quickly changing emotions, which may seem shallow to others
Signs and tests
Histrionic personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation that assesses the history and severity of the symptoms.
The health care provider can diagnose histrionic personality disorder by looking at the person's:
People with this condition often seek treatment when they experience depression or anxiety from failed romantic relationships or other conflicts with people. Medicine may help the symptoms. Talk therapy is the best treatment for the condition itself.
Histrionic personality disorder can improve with talk therapy and sometimes medicines. Left untreated, it can cause problems in people's personal lives and prevent them doing their best at work.
Histrionic personality disorder may affect a person's social or romantic relationships. The person may be unable to cope with losses or failures. The person may change jobs often because of boredom and not being able to deal with frustration. A person with this disorder craves new things and excitement, which leads to risky situations. All of these factors may lead to a higher chance of depression.
Calling your health care provider
See your health care provider or mental health professional if you or someone you know has symptoms of histrionic personality disorder.
Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.
Timothy Rogge, MD, Medical Director, Family Medical Psychiatry Center, Kirkland, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.