Psychology & Mental Health: Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) - The Drama Queen
What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)?
HPD, or Histrionic Personality Disorder, is a permanent mental condition that results in the inflicted person generally being consistently overly dramatic in order to gain attention.
The word 'histrionic' originates from the word 'hysteria' and therefore the acts of a Histrionic Personality can be considered to be hysterical. HPD is quite rare and affects between 2 - 3% of the general population.
How Does Histrionic Personality Disorder Affect Someone?
Just as with other personality disorders, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) histrionic personalities suffer low self-esteem which they seek to regulate by getting noticed by, and then attaining the approval of, other people around them.
However, whereas a narcissist seeks adoration and adulation (ie positive attention) as a form of supply, a histrionic personality does not care whether the cause of the attention is good or bad or whether the attention itself is good or bad, just as long as they actually get that attention then that's all that matters.
Histrionics will go out of their way and step on other people to ensure that they remain in the spotlight.
What Are The Symptoms Of HPD?
Although often able to function at a high level and remain successful both at work and socially, the histrionic personality tends to be easily persuaded by others, acts and/or looks seductive, is preoccupied by how they are looking, constantly seeks reassurance and approval, acts over-dramatically and is extremely sensitive to criticism to the point where they will blame their own failure or disappointment on other people.
Histrionic personalities need to constantly be the centre of attention and the rapid mood swings and changes of emotion they go through makes them come across as being extremely shallow.
What Causes HPD (Histrionic Personality Disorder)?
Although it's generally not known what causes Histrionic Personality Disorder, because the disorder usually develops by early adulthood there is a wide belief that the disorder could be the result of a combination of genes plus subjective experience during upbringing.
Although HPD affects both genders, the majority of histrionic personalities tend to be female although it has been argued that the disorder may be diagnosed more often in women due to the fact that forward sexual behaviour and attention-seeking is seen as being less socially acceptable for women than it is for men.
What's So Bad About Histrionic Personality Disorder?
Just as with other personality disorders such as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), the histrionic is extremely emotionally unstable and often resorts to emotional and mental abuse and sometimes even physical abuse causing many problems in their relationships.
So How Is HPD Different From Other Personality Disorders?
There are significant differences between the various personality disorders. A borderline personality often carries out self-harm, whether physical, emotional or mental whereas a histrionic or narcissistic personality does not.
A narcissistic personality uses deceit, manipulative linguistic techniques as a hypnotic form of communication combined with gas-lighting whereas a borderline is more likely to resort to emotional abuse.
However, it is not unusual for personality disorders to overlap with each other and therefore there may be a combination of these traits present.
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