Running Head: HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER
Histrionic Personality Disorder
This paper describes the characteristics, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of an individual with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). These individuals display a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. The exact cause of this disorder is not known, but it has been linked to learned and inherited behavior. Diagnosing HPD can be difficult because it is similar to other personality disorders. Part of the focus of treatment is to help the individual uncover the motivations and fears ...view middle of the document...
The exact cause of histrionic personality disorder is not known, but many mental health professionals believe that both learned and inherited factors play a role in its development. For example, the tendency for histrionic personality disorder to run in families suggests that a genetic susceptibility for the disorder might be inherited. However, the child of a parent with this disorder might simply be repeating learned behavior. Other environmental factors that might be involved include lack of criticism or punishment as a child, positive reinforcement that is given only when a child completes certain approved behaviors, and unpredictable attention given to a child by his or her parents, all leading to confusion about what types of behavior earn parental approval.
The diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder is complicated because it may seem like many other disorders, and also because it commonly occurs simultaneously with other personality disorders. The diagnosis of HPD is frequently made on the basis of an individual’s history and results from a psychological evaluation. The DSM, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, requires that five (or more) criteria be met for a diagnosis of HPD. A mnemonic that can be used to remember the criteria for histrionic personality disorder is PRAISE ME:
P: Provocative (or sexually seductive behavior)
R: Relationships (considered more intimate than they are)
A: Attention (uncomfortable when not the center of attention)
I: Influenced easily
S: Style of speech (impressionistic, lacks detail)
E: Emotions (rapidly shifting and shallow)
M: Made up (physical appearance used to draw attention to self)
E: Emotions exaggerated (theatrical)
The following is a case study of an individual who met five of the DSM criteria for HPD. Normally, HPDs are more often female but in this case it is a male.
A gay man in his early thirties came to the hospital for a depression that followed two major stresses: He broke up with his lover, and his father withdrew his financial support. The relationship with the lover was very close; however, the lover became concerned about the patient’s dependency. He wanted the patient to “take care of himself”, and said that “he needed a break” from the relationship. Shortly before hospitalization, the patient’s wealthy father discontinued his rather substantial monthly allowance. Although he had a job, the loss of the allowance meant that he had to change his lifestyle. The patient felt that his father was trying to “control how he acts” and felt that he “reneged on deals”. The patient felt that his mother “was there” for him most of the time he was growing up. He had been a sickly child, tearful infant, and a shy, isolated child. Although the patient felt close to his mother, he complained that she gave priority to the father. He reported that people at his work as a salesman said that he had moods swings. He had many acquaintances and...