Histrionic personality disorder is a type of personality disorder that is characterized by attention-seeking behavior. If you have histrionic personality disorder, you may be very suggestible and act in a very dramatic or attention seeking way. Your self-esteem may depend on the approval and attention that you get from others. This disorder is more prevalent in women than in men. 

Histrionic personality disorder can have a serious 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. You may be obsessive about your appearance, and use your appearance to seek attention in inappropriate or sexual ways. Less than 2% of the U.S. population has this disorder. 


Histrionic personality disorder often exists alongside another type of mental disorder, 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
  • You are easily influenced by others
  • An obsessive focus on your appearance
  • Changing friends or jobs rapidly
  • Seeking attention from authority figures, celebrities, or people with power
  • Believing that relationships are closer or more intimate than they actually are
  • Dressing provocatively or in an inappropriately sexy way
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states centered on how events affect them


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

  • 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


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. Find a doctor to speak with about medication. 

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 control 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.