The Concept of Histrionic Personality Disorder


Histrionic personality disorder belongs to Cluster B of personality disorders. It is characterized by distorted self-images and unstable emotions. Additionally, the patients’ self-esteem depends on the level of approval from other people. As such, self-esteem for individuals suffering from this disorder does not come from their feelings of self-worth. Epidemiologically, it is common among adolescents and young adults. However, it affects women more as compared to men. A histrionic personality disorder is a behavioral condition mainly affecting adolescents and young adults, it is caused by environmental and familial factors, and even though it cannot be prevented, it can be treated.

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The exact causes of this condition are not known. However, both inherited and learned factors contribute to its development. According to Novais, Araújo, and Godinho (2015), different studies have shown that this condition runs in families, thus pointing to genetic causes. However, a child born to parents with this disorder may learn from them. Consequently, by repeating what he or she has learned, a child may become symptomatic, which highlights the role of environmental factors as causative agents.


In most cases, people suffering from this condition have good but manipulative social skills. Therefore, they use these capabilities to draw attention to themselves through different strategies such as provocative dressing and flirtatious behavior. If they do not get the attention that they seek, they act irrationally and make rash decisions. Their vulnerability is exposed by the constant need for approval from other people, and thus they are gullible and easily influenced. Finally, such individuals are self-centered, and they can easily become suicidal because they are emotionally unstable together with the need to draw attention (Furnham, 2014).


The first step in the diagnosis of this condition is the evaluation of the psychiatric and medical history of a patient. As such, doctors can link past events to the current ones and make a diagnosis. Physical examinations are done to ascertain vital signs. Additionally, laboratory tests such as blood tests and neuroimaging are performed to rule out other conditions that may be behind the patients’ symptoms. If no physical reasons for the condition are established, the patient is referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist for further diagnosis (Novais et al., 2015). Such professionals use special assessment tools and interviews to evaluate and diagnose the disorder.

Prevention and Treatment

The prevention of this personality disorder may not be possible because the causes are not known. According to Furnham (2014), psychotherapy is the preferred choice of treatment for this condition. The goal of therapy is to help patients to face the fears and motivations behind their behaviors. Ultimately, an individual learns to relate to other people more positively. Medication can be used to treat associated conditions like depression and anxiety. Therefore, antidepressants are commonly used.


Histrionic personality disorder occurs mainly among adolescents, and young adults and women are more affected as compared to men. The exact causes of the disorder are unknown. However, specialists have identified environmental and genetic factors as probable causes. The common symptoms include emotional instability and the need to be at the center of attention. The condition is diagnosed through psychiatric evaluation using special assessment tools and interviews. Treatment is done through psychotherapy and medication. The commonly used drugs are antidepressants. Psychotherapy is effective as it allows patients to confront the triggers that influence their behavior.


Furnham, A. (2014). A bright side, facet analysis of histrionic personality disorder: The relationship between the HDS colorful factor and the NEO-PI-R facets in a large adult sample. The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(6), 527-536.

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Novais, F., Araújo, A., & Godinho, P. (2015). Historical roots of histrionic personality disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(1463), 1-5. Web.

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