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Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis

Learn about histrionic personality disorder symptoms and signs and the role HPD symptoms play in the diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder.

Histrionic personality disorder symptoms don't typically cause problems at work, school, or in social situations unless they are severe. Personality disorders show a pervasive and long-term pattern of behaviors that depart from social norms. As with other personality disorders, symptoms of histrionic personality disorder must appear in two or more of these areas:

  1. Cognition (thinking)
  2. Affect
  3. Interpersonal relationships
  4. Impulse control

The behavioral pattern must also occur consistently across a variety of social situations.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Histrionic personality disorder symptoms show up as a consistent, long-standing behavioral pattern of attention seeking and excessive displays of emotion. Clear signs of histrionic personality disorder appear in late adolescence or early adulthood (Read about famous people with histrionic personality disorder.

People with histrionic personality disorder have many or all of these symptoms:

  • Behave or dress in overly seductive ways
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance
  • Excessively emotional and dramatic
  • Overly sensitive to criticism (thin-skinned)
  • Blame personal failures on others
  • Constant need for approval and reassurance
  • Low tolerance for delayed gratification
  • Attention seeking (self-centered)
  • Overestimation of intimacy in relationships
  • Shifting emotions (others may see them as shallow)

Diagnosis of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Only a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can give a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder. Typically, people with histrionic personality disorder don't seek treatment on their own, unless the disorder begins to seriously impair or interfere with their quality of life.

A family physician or similar practitioner may notice behaviors and personal issues in a patient that require attention and refer the person to a mental health practitioner for assessment.

The mental health professional will give the client a comprehensive psychological evaluation. He or she will also ask questions about the person's medical and mental health history and behaviors across a variety of situations. The clinician will also assess the overall appearance of the individual. He or she will compare the clients' symptoms and other gathered information to diagnostic criteria for personality disorders as laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Once a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder is made, the practitioner will begin to develop an individualized treatment plan.

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next: Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment
~ all articles on Histrionic Personality Disorder
~ all Personality Disorder articles

Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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