Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of excessive sensitivity and attention-seeking behavior. It begins to develop by early adulthood and occurs in a variety of situations. Individuals who suffer with this disorder are at increased risk for becoming suicidal or making suicidal threats, in order to get attention.

Criteria Used to Diagnose Histrionic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.50 (F60.4)

The individual’s extreme emotionality and desire for attention is indicated by at least five of the following:

  • He or she feels uncomfortable when the center of attention is not on him or her.
  • The individual’s interactions with others are usually inappropriately seductive or provocative.
  • He or she shows quickly changing and shallow expression of emotions.
  • The individual uses his or her physical appearance to attract attention.
  • The individual’s speech is lacking in detail.
  • He or she is dramatic and exaggerates his or her emotions.
  • The individual is easily influenced by others.
  • He or she views relationships as more intimate than they really are.

Histrionic personality disorder may also make it difficult for individuals to achieve emotional intimacy in their romantic relationships and cause rifts with same-sex friends due to their provocative nature. It is common, too, for these individuals to become easily frustrated with situations that don’t result in direct or immediate gratification and satisfaction.

Who is at Risk of Developing Histrionic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.50 (F60.4)?

Histrionic personality disorder only affects about 1.84% of people according to date from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Among those diagnosed in a clinical setting, a larger portion are female; however, multiple studies suggest similar frequency of the disorder among males and females.

When assessing an individual who may have histrionic personality disorder, culture, age, and gender must all be considered, as there are different norms among these groups—for example, emotionality, seductiveness, and impressionability can all vary depending on the individual’s background. That being said, there are not any specific risk factors related to these subgroups.

Is There Treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.50 (F60.4)?

While histrionic personality disorder can indeed be treated, many individuals with the disorder do not seek treatment or even believe they need treatment. But for those who do, a couple of forms prove to be the most promising:

  • Psychotherapy: This form of counseling is one of the best ways to treat histrionic personality disorder. Its primary purpose is to help the patient discover his or her motivations and fears which drive his or thoughts and behaviors.
  • Medication: Medication is another treatment option for histrionic personality disorder sufferers. It can be used to treat difficult symptoms, like depression or anxiety, that may occur alongside the disorder.

What Else Could These Symptoms Mean?

Signs of an individual’s excessive sensitivity and desire for attention do not automatically lead to a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder, but could instead point to another cause or issue such as:

1. Another personality disorder or simple personality trait. It’s easy for other personality disorders to become confused with histrionic personality disorder, as they all share certain features. For this reason, it’s important to pay close attention to the differences in order to determine the correct disorder.

  • For example: Borderline personality disorder is also characterized by quick shifts in emotions, attention-seeking, and manipulative behavior. But it is also distinguished by self-destructiveness and identity disturbance, which differs from histrionic personality disorder.

2. Personality change due to a different medical condition. Similar traits may emerge from another medical condition and must be distinguished from histrionic personality disorder.

3. Substance use disorders. Individuals should also consider symptoms that may be associated with substance use and abuse.

Celebrities: Lovers of the Center of Attention

Being the center of attention pretty much comes with being a celebrity: you agree to perform in front of millions of people, whether it be on TV, on stage, or on a field or court. But some celebrities in particular seem to really bask in their star status:

  • Kim Kardashian: Kim spends much of her time posting seductive pictures on Instagram and Snapchat. She wears tight, revealing clothing and she’s constantly seeking attention on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Her persistent need to be noticed and catered to definitely raises eyebrows and may point to a possible histrionic personality disorder.
  • Miley Cyrus: Miley was a beloved, angelic Disney star at the age of 14. But with the conclusion of her hit show Hannah Montana in 2011, she tossed her innocence to the side. Miley dressed herself in skimpy, tight-fitting clothes and kept up a seductive act every time she took the stage. She claims that she was just being her true self, but this transformation may instead be a sign of histrionic personality disorder. Either way, it appears Miley has since calmed down a tad.
  • Kanye West: Like his wife, Kim Kardashian, Kanye shows signs of a possible histrionic personality disorder, as he lives to stand out and is an obvious attention-seeker. One example is when he jumped on stage at the VMA’s and stole the spotlight from Taylor Swift who had just won Best Female Video. Kanye just had to voice who he thought should have won the award (Beyonce) and was unapologetic for the interruption.

Maybe these celebrities simply enjoy the limelight, as being famous certainly cultivates a life many of us just don’t and never will understand. While this is a possibility, it’s also possible that their unusual lives have led to a development of histrionic personality disorder.

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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