People with histrionic personality disorder have a chronic need to be the center of attention. Typical histrionic personality disorder symptoms include:
- Discomfort when not at the center of attention
- Dramatic behavior
- Inappropriate sexually seductive behavior
- Overestimating the level of intimacy in relationships
- Rapidly shifting emotions
- Tendency to generalize when speaking
- Trouble sustaining relationships or seeming shallow in interactions with other people.
As with most people with personality disorders, individuals who display histrionic behavior are difficult to treat. Most people with personality disorders are unaware they have a problem. If they do seek treatment, it’s usually for a related disorder such as depression or anxiety.
However, a histrionic individual is more likely than people with other personality disorders to actually seek treatment, though he may exaggerate his symptoms as a way of getting attention. Someone with histrionic personality disorder may also be needy and form a dependent relationship with her therapist during treatment.
Histrionic Personality Treatment with Medication
Medications are generally ineffective in treating histrionic personality disorder. However, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety sometimes accompany histrionic personality disorder symptoms. In this case, doctors may prescribe antidepressant medications to ease the symptoms of the mood disorder. Doctors are cautious in prescribing such medications, since people who exhibit histrionic behavior may be more likely to abuse medications.
Histrionic Disorder Treatment with Therapy
Psychotherapy is usually the best choice for histrionic personality disorder treatment, as it treats the underlying issues that cause histrionic behavior. Therapy can help a person with a histrionic personality understand his behavior and thoughts and learn how to develop more positive relationships with other people.
Patients may also learn how to control impulsive behavior and develop problem-solving skills. Assertiveness training can help a patient learn to deal with situations on his own, without resorting to attention-grabbing tactics.
Group therapy is another histrionic personality disorder treatment. This approach may involve role-playing techniques to help people with the disorder improve interpersonal relationships. However, individuals with histrionic personality disorder have a tendency to dominate meetings, so group therapy isn’t always effective.
Histrionic Behavior and Suicide
People with histrionic personality disorder may practice self-mutilation or threaten suicide. Although suicide attempts in people with histrionic personality disorder are often a ploy to get attention, this isn’t always the case; therefore, you should take any suicidal behavior seriously. Even if he doesn’t intend to, a histrionic person can actually die while attempting suicide as an attention-seeking gesture. The therapist should be notified of any suicidal or self-mutilating behaviors during treatment.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2010). Histrionic personality disorder. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Histrionic-personality-disorder.html
Grohol, J. M. (2010). Histrionic personality disorder treatment. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx17t.htm
The Cleveland Clinic. (2010). Histrionic personality disorder. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/personality_disorders/hic_histrionic_personality_disorder.aspx