Understanding the Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a mental health condition that manifests as dramatic and attention-seeking behaviour and an intense need for approval. Histrionic Personality Disorder can be difficult to diagnose, as many of its symptoms overlap with other mental health disorders.

Let’s take a look at the potential signs and symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder

The Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder

HPD affects about 1.8% of the population, and it’s more common among women than men. People with HPD may have difficulty forming deep, meaningful relationships because their need for attention can overwhelm others in their lives.

The following are just some of the potential signs and symptoms of histrionic personality disorder. It is important to note that not everyone who experiences these symptoms will have histrionic personality disorder. They could also indicate another underlying mental health issue.

histrionic personality disorder symptoms

Excessive need for reassurance or affirmation from others

A person who has Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) will usually have a strong desire for attention and approval, even to the point of seeking it obsessively.

This need for outside validation can manifest in various ways.

They will resort to attention-seeking actions, grandiose gestures, and exaggerated emotional displays. They often dress dramatically or in an over-the-top fashion as a way to draw attention to themselves, and may exhibit theatrical speaking styles rooted in their need for attention.

Additionally, those with HPD may have difficulty forming meaningful connections with others as they become bored easily and can be quick to move on to new relationships or activities without considering the costs.

The person’s lack of empathy combined with their need for admiration leaves them constantly searching for acceptance, making them vulnerable to exploitation.

Easily influenced by others or swayed by emotion

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) can be easily influenced by the opinions and emotions of others.

They are often impulsive, making decisions based on emotion rather than logic or facts.

Additionally, they may make choices without understanding or considering the consequences or long-term implications.

As a result, people with HPD are at risk of being taken advantage of as they are prone to manipulation from those around them.

HPD is also associated with emotional instability and hypersensitivity. Their reactions to events can be intense and overwhelming, leaving them feeling emotionally unstable and out of control.

Difficulty forming meaningful relationships due to difficulty trusting others

It is also common for people with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) to have difficulty forming meaningful relationships due to their inability to trust others.

They are often suspicious and mistrust the intentions of those around them, leaving them feeling disconnected and alone.

They may also find it difficult to open up to others or take criticism, as they are often fragile and overly sensitive.

Additionally, their need for attention and validation can lead them to engage in unhealthy relationships or become overly dependent on others for approval or affirmation. This means that they are at risk of developing unhealthy codependent relationships.

histrionic personality disorder symptoms

Difficulty focusing on tasks or activities

A person who has Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) often finds it very difficult to focus on tasks or activities without becoming easily distracted by external stimuli. This can lead to a lack of concentration and therefore impair the ability to accomplish tasks or goals.

Additionally, people with HPD tend to have difficulty staying organized and may have difficulty sustaining attention in activities that require focus and patience.

They often become quickly bored if their interests are not immediately gratified, leading them to seek out new activities and experiences instead of completing the task at hand.

Inability to handle criticism or disapproval gracefully

When faced with criticism, no matter how mild, they react with anxiety, anger, or guilt. In fact they are overly sensitive to any kind of negative feedback, no matter how well-intentioned or constructive it may be.

This inability to handle criticism gracefully can lead to an avoidance of difficult conversations and social conflicts.

Additionally, people with HPD may become excessively dramatic in their reactions to minor personal criticisms, leading to unnecessary emotional outbursts and making it harder for others to take them seriously.

Unpredictable mood swings and changes in behaviour

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) often experience unpredictable mood swings and changes in behaviour.

This can include frequent and sudden changes in emotions, from excitement to anger or sadness without any clear cause.

Additionally, their need for attention can drive them to act out dramatically in some situations, while they can seem withdrawn and unresponsive in others.

For this reason, it is not unusual for people with HPD to be accused of being deceitful or manipulative when their unstable behaviour is misinterpreted.

A strong fear of being alone or abandoned.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) often have a strong fear of being alone or abandoned. They may experience feelings of emptiness and loneliness when lacking relationships and may go to great lengths to avoid being left alone.

This fear of abandonment can lead to difficulties in forming meaningful connections with others due to their insecurity and need for constant reassurance.

Additionally, they can become overly dependent on others and display clingy or needy behaviours, which can make it difficult for them to sustain healthy relationships over time.

Behaviours that are overly sexualized and provocative

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) often exhibit behaviour that is overly sexualized and provocative.

This can range from trying to get attention through physical appearances to seductive or suggestive behavior in an attempt to gain approval.

Additionally, they may engage in dangerously impulsivity activities such as substance abuse or unprotected sexual activity without considering the consequences of their actions. This type of behavior can lead to further social exclusion and judgement from others.

Treatment Options for Histrionic Personality

Treatment for histrionic personality disorder typically involves psychotherapy sessions that focus on helping the individual recognize their own feelings and behaviours, learn healthy coping skills, develop better social skills, and improve communication with others.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are contributing to their issues. Through CBT, people with HPD can learn more appropriate ways of relating to others and expressing emotions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices to help people regulate their emotions, process trauma, and manage stressors in healthy ways. In DBT sessions people with HPD can learn how to interact with others in a healthier manner while managing mood swings and other symptoms.


Certain medications such as antidepressants or antipsychotics can help manage the symptoms of HPD such as anxiety, depression, or impulsivity. These medications should always be prescribed by a medical professional and monitored closely as they can have potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides an opportunity for people with HPD to seek support from like-minded individuals and gain insight into their own behavior from hearing about other peoples’ experiences. This type of therapy also allows for better communication, understanding, and empathy between members of the group which helps foster meaningful connections with others.

Final Thoughts on Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms associated with histrionic personality disorder can vary greatly from person to person, but usually include flamboyant behaviour, difficulty forming meaningful relationships, extreme mood swings, an intense need for approval and unpredictable behaviour patterns.

If you think you may have HPD it is important to speak with a qualified medical professional who can provide diagnosis and treatment options so you can improve your relationships, emotional regulation skills, and overall wellbeing.

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