Many of us desire the admiration of others, but Histrionic personalities have an unhealthy need for constant attention and engage in outrageous behavior to get it.
Histrionic Personality Disorder is a condition characterized by excessive emotionality and attention-seeking. This disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing.
Histrionic Personality Disorder, which used to be called hysteria, is characterized by an insatiable desire to be the center of attention, unstable emotions, and low self-esteem. People who suffer from this disorder manipulate others by acting out in dramatic and often inappropriate ways in order to get the attention they desire. The word “histrionic” means “dramatic” or “theatrical.”
People with Histrionic Personality Disorder are highly attuned and sensitive to the moods and feelings of others. They constantly seek the approval and adoration of other people by exaggerating their emotions and actions. They have very strong opinions but often do not have well-thought-out or logical reasons for their ideas.
People who exhibit signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder are sometimes labeled by others as narcissistic, self-absorbed, and shallow. Sometimes HPD sufferers elicit attention by dressing or acting out in a sexually inappropriate manner. Some are overly concerned with their physical appearance.
Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder also include relationship difficulties. People with HPD are often emotionally manipulative and excessively dependent on their partner. Frequently, the individual’s constant attention-seeking behavior places undue strain on relationships. Sometimes HPD sufferers also believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
People with Histrionic Personality Disorder are easily bored and frustrated as well. They hate routine and are prone to making rash decisions. Many people who have the mental disorder suffer from depression and anxiety.
Individuals with this disorder may have difficulty achieving emotional intimacy in romantic relationships. Without being aware of it, they often act out a role (e.g., "victim" or "princess"). They may seek to control their partner through emotional manipulation or seductiveness on one level, whereas displaying a marked dependency on them at another level. Individuals with this disorder often have impaired relationships with same-sex friends because of their sexually provocative behavior or their demands for constant attention. They crave novelty, stimulation, and excitement and have a tendency to become bored with their usual routine. Although they often initiate a job or project with great enthusiasm, their interest may lag quickly. The actual risk of suicide is not known, but individuals with this disorder are at increased risk for suicidal gestures and threats to get attention and coerce better care giving.
Somatization Disorder, Conversion Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and other Personality Disorders (especially Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial, and Dependent) frequently co-occur with this disorder.