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Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD): The Disordered Drama Queen

Updated on November 21, 2016
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Marc Hubs is a writer/researcher on the mind, science, psychology/psychiatry, metaphysics & consciousness. Author of Reflections Of NPD.

The Drama Queen
The Drama Queen | Source


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 is derived from the word hysteria and therefore the acts of a Histrionic Personality can be considered to be hysterical in the truest sense of the word. HPD is quite rare and generally only affects about 2-3% of the general population.

Signs of Histrionic Disorder

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.

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.

Causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Although it's generally not known what causes the disorder, due to the fact that 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 drama queens?

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.

How Is HPD different to 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.

See also:

© 2012 Sparkster Publishing


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    • Juan Carvajal profile image

      Juan Carvajal 3 years ago from Miami Lakes, Florida

      Hello, how can HPD be diagnosed?


    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, being around such people for long enough can indeed be draining.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      Who doesn't have an HPD in their life? I often wondered about overly gregarious people who seem to need so much attention it drains the life out of the people around them. Now, I understand them a little more and have a little more compassion. Thank you for the enlightenment. This is quite an interesting hub. I enjoyed reading it.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for commenting Mom Kat, that sounds like a perfect example!

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      I swear my step-sister has this disorder! She always needs to be center stage & when one little thing doesn't go her way, he key phrase is "God! You're wrecking my life!" .... DRAMA queen!

      Very preoccupied with looks, make-up, "in style" clothes, purses, shoes, nails....

      Great hub!

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Indeed these kind of PD's are relatively easy to figure out, ie the drama queen.

    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 5 years ago from Lancashire, England

      Another scholarly hub.

      I suspect all of us, irrespective of whether we work within a mental health profession, can identify a cluster of people we have met who would meet the criteria.

    • peachpower profile image

      peachpower 5 years ago from Florida

      Haha!! Loved reading this. Especially since I am one of those people with a giant personality. It's horrible, really: A friend said to me once that if we were to move out of state, she'd let me make all the new friends and she'd just tag along. Interesting Hub, and thanks!