Histrionic Personality Disorder

Thomas Gouard
Psychology 213
City Colleges of Chicago - Truman College  
Disorder: Histrionic Personality Disorder; a disorder characterized by a long-standing pattern of attention seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be the center of attention in any group of people, and feel uncomfortable when they are not.  While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, they have difficulty when people aren’t focused exclusively on them. People with this disorder may be perceived as being shallow, and may engage in sexually seductive or provocative behavior to draw attention to themselves.

Why I chose it: What interested me about this disorder are the symptoms of it, and the many celebrities that were, and are currently in the spotlight currently that show specific symptoms of it: Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention; Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are; Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions, and Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.  As for celebrities with this disorder a few of my favorites are Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Richard Simmons; a very good example would be Regina Mackenzie George; a character portrayed by Rachel McAdams in the movie “Mean Girls”. These few are the most well-known that show symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder.  Might sound like the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but the two are different. Key different. Key Difference: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) a medical disorder in which people exhibit unstable and intensive emotions. The patient experiences an inflated sense of self-importance and superiority compared to others. Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a mental disorder in which people are more emotionally vulnerable and require constant approval from their peers. They are also associated with inappropriately seductive, dramatic, flirtatious, exaggeration, manipulative and self- indulgence behavior.
Diagnostic Criteria: According to the DSM-V; the diagnostic criteria for Histrionic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adult-hood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention.
2. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.
3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions.
4. Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention of emotions.
5. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.
6. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion.
7. Is suggestible (i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances).
8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

Gender-Related Diagnostic Issues: In clinical settings, this disorder has been diagnosed more frequently in females; however, the sex ratio is not significantly different from the sex ratio of females within the perspective clinical setting. In contrast, some studies using structured assessments report similar prevalence rates among males and females.

Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues: Norms for interpersonal behavior, personal appearance, and emotional expressiveness vary widely across cultures, genders, and age groups. Before considering the various traits (e.g., emotionality, seductiveness, dramatic interpersonal style, novelty seeking, sociability, charm, impressionability, a tendency to somatization) to be evidence of histrionic personality disorder, it is important to evaluate whether they cause clinically significant impairment or distress.

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