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Histrionic Personality Disorder

Abstract: The diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder is used for people who show exaggerated emotional expressions and have an extremely strong longing for attention.

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Histrionic Personality Disorder

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Written by: Tasja Klausch
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 31 Jul 2008.

The Histrionic Personality Disorder is characterized by people showing exaggerated emotional expressions and an extremely strong longing for attention. They have a constant desire to receive praise and to be given credit for something. If this is not the case, they are extremely offended, which they can not easily cope with. They mostly think of themself and do not feel comfortable when they are not taking centre stage. A person with Histrionic PD is also excessively concerned about their appearance.

Even though Histrionic PD appears more often in women and the symptoms seem to be typical female stereotypes, there are also men who fulfil the symptoms for this diagnosis according to the.

Diagnostic Criteria of DSM-IV

The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, More) describes Histrionic Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention;
  • interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior;
  • displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions;
  • consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self;
  • has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail;
  • shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion;
  • is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances;
  • considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
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