Personality refers to the characteristic patterns of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that make each of us unique beings. There has been great debate about whether or not personality is fixed at birth or can be influenced by life experiences. While genetics definitely play a role in personality development, research shows that environmental factors also contribute significantly, particularly concerning belief systems, goal setting, and coping strategies.
Personality disorders are a category of mental health disorders marked by unhealthy or rigid patterns of thinking and behaving. These disorders cause people to struggle to correctly perceive and relate to others and situations. Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is characterized by overly dramatic, erratic, emotional, and attention-seeking behaviors that can interfere with daily functioning. Call Harmony Hills at 855.494.0357 to learn more about histrionic personality disorder treatment.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder?
Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) impacts one to two percent of the population. While it occurs across all genders, it is more common in women assigned female at birth, usually developing in the late teens or early 20s. Individuals with HPD can have strong social skills but tend to use them in manipulative ways, typically to be the center of attention. Their sense of self-worth and self-esteem is dependent upon approval from others.
The main characteristic of those with histrionic personality disorder is using excessive, superficial emotionalism and sexuality to draw attention to themselves. Other signs and symptoms of histrionic personality disorder include:
- Feeling underappreciated or unhappy when not the center of attention
- Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
- Displaying rapidly changing and superficial emotions
- Being overly concerned with physical appearance
- Behaving in inappropriately sexual, seductive, or provocative ways
- Appearing fake or shallow in interactions with others
- Difficulty maintaining relationships and thinking relationships are more intimate than they are
- Gullibility and being easily influenced by others
- Excessively sensitive to criticism or disapproval
- Behaving impulsively or making rash decisions
While individuals with HPD can be successful, their low frustration tolerance, tendency to become bored by routine, and need for instant gratification can cause career disruptions or difficulty remaining employed.
Causes and Risk Factors for Histrionic Personality Disorder
Personality disorders are among the least understood mental health conditions. They can be challenging to treat because individuals who have them do not typically view their ways of thinking and acting as problematic. Research on HPD and other personality disorders has identified numerous risk factors for developing HPD, such as:
- Family history of personality disorders, anxiety, or depression
- Genetic susceptibility to personality disorders
- Childhood trauma
- Being rewarded for attention-seeking behaviors in childhood
- A lack of boundaries, constructive criticism, or appropriate consequences for behavior in childhood
- Unpredictable or inconsistent parenting
- Having parents or caregivers who exhibit erratic, dramatic, volatile, or inappropriate sexual behaviors
Parent-child relationship issues can create the low self-esteem or self-worth characteristic of individuals with HPD. When individuals with HPD seek treatment, it is usually because of the symptoms of co-occurring disorders, like anxiety or depression, or because of life changes caused by HPD, such as the loss of significant relationships or employment.
Because they can be extremely self-centered, individuals with HPD can be mistaken for being narcissistic. Narcissists and individuals with HPD crave attention; however, the type of attention that satisfies them is entirely different. Individuals with HPD lack self-esteem and do not care if the attention they receive is positive or negative.
Learn More About Histrionic Personality Disorder at Harmony Hills
Living with histrionic personality disorder can make life chaotic. Through a histrionic personality disorder treatment program, you can receive education about HPD that provides insight into your thoughts and behaviors and how they impact your life.
The treatment team at Harmony Hills can provide the tools needed to overcome HPD and co-occurring disorders to live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life. Contact or call us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.