Do you seek attention all the time? Do you use your physical appearance to gain attention and appreciation from others? Then you may have a histrionic personality disorder (HPD). It is a mental condition that leads to attention-seeking behavior and disrupts your daily life.
What is histrionic personality disorder?
Originally identified as hysterical personality disorder, HPD is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by excessive attention-seeking responses and intense emotionality. People with histrionic personality disorder have poor sense of self-worth, low self-esteem and they have a strong need for gaining approval and validation from others.
So if you tend to behave inappropriately and dramatically most of the time and feel an overwhelming need to get noticed, then it is likely that you are a histrionic person.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a histrionic personality disorder is “a pattern of excessive emotion and attention-seeking.” The condition is categorized as a Cluster B personality disorder, which includes borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder.
This group of personalities are usually overly emotional, dramatic, and engage in unpredictable behavior. If you belong to this personality, then you may likely consider everything in an extremely emotional way. This may lead to inappropriate or unacceptable behavior at times, especially when you are in a social or professional setting. In fact, you may feel upset, unappreciated, and uncomfortable when you are not the center of attention in your current environment.
The disorder can develop during early childhood or even during adulthood. It has been observed that HPD affects approximately 2-3% of the population. Although men and women are affected equally, some studies show that more women are affected than men.
How HPD affects you
The American Psychological Association (APA), defines HPD as “a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of long-term (rather than episodic) self-dramatization in which individuals draw attention to themselves, crave activity and excitement, overreact to minor events, experience angry outbursts, and are prone to manipulative suicide threats and gestures.” Histrionic individuals tend to be highly enthusiastic, cheerful, flirtatious, and seductive.
However, they may behave in an inappropriately sexual manner to seek approval and attention. Some other common traits of histrionic people include:
- Highly theatrical
- Sexually provocative
They also engage in risky behavior as they constantly seek stimulation. As a lack of attention leads to discomfort, these personalities can often be manipulative, narcissistic, and use their sexuality to draw attention. Although histrionic people tend to be the life of the party, their self-image is likely to be distorted. They are usually loud and vibrant yet have inconsistent and superficial emotions.
As a result, they are mostly regarded as insincere individuals in their social groups. They may even “embarrass friends and acquaintances with excessive public displays of emotion, such as embracing casual acquaintances with passion, sobbing uncontrollably over minor setbacks, or having temper tantrums,” explains Psychology Today. However, people with HPD can be impressionable and suggestible and so they can be easily influenced by others.
Histrionic personality and other disorders
If you are a histrionic person, then you are at higher risk of developing narcissistic personality disorder and major depressive disorder. Studies reveal that the condition can also lead to antisocial personality disorder in males and somatization disorder in females. This condition can co-exist with some other comorbid disorders such as:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Dependent personality disorder
- Attachment disorders
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Conversion disorders
- Panic disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
What are the symptoms of HPD?
Individuals with HPD are usually attention-seeking and overly dramatic. Some of the most common symptoms of the psychiatric disorder includes:
- Constant attention-seeking behavior
- Persistent dramatic behavior
- Inappropriately flirtatious or seductive behavior
- Rapidly shifting and inconsistent emotions & mood swings
- Feeling uncomfortable when not the center of attention
- Extremely concerned about physical appearance
- Seeking reassurance or approval constantly
- Suggestible and easily influenced by others
- Hyper-sensitive to disapproval, negative feedback or criticism
- Speech is vague and lacks detail
- Engaging in risky behavior to seek new adventures and experiences
- Lacking empathy and highly self-centered
- Believing relationships are closer than they actually are
- Suicidal tendencies due to lack of attention