Histrionic personality disorder is a type of personality disorder that is primarily characterized by attention-seeking behavior.  

Histrionic personality disorder can have an impact on your relationships and can interfere with your performance at work or in school. This disorder is usually first noticed in your teens or early adulthood.  

Symptoms

Histrionic personality disorder often co-exists alongside another type of mental health condition, like anxiety. People with this disorder can be very successful. But, left untreated, the disorder can have a negative impact on your life. See your doctor if you notice symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, including:

  • Excessive attention seeking
  • Engaging in inappropriate behaviors to gain praise or approval
  • Acting out in order to always be the center of attention; feeling uncomfortable or out of place when not the center of attention
  • Being easily influenced by others
  • Having an obsessive focus on your appearance
  • Believing that relationships are closer or more intimate than they actually are
  • Dressing provocatively or in an inappropriately sexy way; using one's looks or physical appearance to gain attention
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states centered on how events affect them

Causes

Histrionic personality disorder is not caused by one particular event or experience. A number of different risk factors can increase your risk of developing this disorder, such as:

  • Being rewarded for attention seeking behavior as a child
  • A family history of personality disorders, anxiety, or depression
  • Learning behaviors from a parent or caregiver with the disorder
  • A lack of criticism or punishment as a child
  • Unpredictable attention from your parents
  • Previously experiencing depression or anxiety
  • A genetic susceptibility to personality disorders

Treatment

Histrionic personality disorder is treatable. It often becomes apparent alongside other disorders, like anxiety or depression. Your doctor can perform tests to determine if you have this disorder and what treatment plan is right for you. 

Medication: There is no medication to cure histrionic personality disorder. However, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and other medications can help treat your symptoms.  

Therapy: Therapy is very effective in treating this disorder. Psychodynamic therapy, talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and other types of therapy can help you learn how to gain control over your disorder. See your options for therapy.

Education: Learning more about your disorder can help you understand your triggers and explain your condition to your family and friends. Learn more about mental health with our resources.

Support: Finding support to help you cope with histrionic personality disorder and other mental health conditions that you may be experiencing can help you feel better faster. Find a support group at Sheppard Pratt.