Wanting Too Much Attention: Identifying Histrionic Personality Disorder

Dr. Purushothaman
October 1, 2013

Submitted by gonzaga.marco
Wed, 22 Oct 2008

Persons identified with histrionic personality disorder or HPD display pervasive emotionality and an excessive craving for attention. As we all know, attention is crucial for our self-image. However, people with HPD have a nearly obsessive compulsion to have it. Known to be more prevalent among women than in men, the behavioral pattern for HPD males and females vary in some ways. Nevertheless, they share the same intense need to become the center of attention that despite the variations in their behavioral patterns, everything they do are still geared towards fulfilling this seemingly insatiable craving.
Unlike other personality disorders, HPD does not impair a person's social skills. In fact, people with HPD are capable of becoming successful professionally and socially. They possess good social abilities that they use in manipulating others in order to become the focus of attention. However, the uncommon inherent tendencies typical of their personality disorder may impede their social skills, especially the manner in which they bear or accept losses and frustrations. Romantic relationships gone awry deeply affect persons with HPD to the point of depression. Once they are diagnosed to have the latter, seeking treatment which may entail taking a common antidepressant along with psychotherapy is necessitated.
Common Traits of HPD
People with HPD would be ill at ease in situations wherein they are not the sole focus. Oftentimes, in conversations, they are known to frequently interrupt whenever somebody else is speaking, an unconscious move to divert attention to themselves. They express themselves dramatically, using theatrical speech or impressive terminologies that often generalize but have neither depth nor details. The need to attract attention is so great that they even dress and behave seductively or flirtatiously. This sexual-forward behavior along with attention-craving is what led experts to conclude that this disorder is more prevalent among women. Socially, displaying such behavior among women is not openly acceptable. Thus, such behavior makes sit logical to assess that they are more prone to it because aside from the previously mentioned traits, another predilection of people with HPD is their need for excitement and adventure. Furthermore, they are liable to dramatize their illnesses just to get attention. Praises are of vital importance to them. Thus, it is not surprising to learn that they do not take criticism and failures easily.
HPD in Women
When women have HPD, they typify the traditional “drama queens.” Characterized as self-centered, self-indulgent, and devoid of emotional depth, it is ironic how they tend to be very dramatic in expressing themselves. They are dependent on others, and their relationships with other people tend to be immature. It is not advisable for them to form romantic partnerships with others, for they tend to attract people displaying similar disorders or worse.
HPD in Men
As opposed to women with HPD, men with HPD are not dependent on anyone but expect that everyone would be dependent on them. They tend to display antisocial inclinations and are liable to exaggerate physical illnesses as a means of manipulating others. Ironically, they see themselves as emotionally mature when in truth they are the exact opposite. Always caught up in their perceived emotions, they do this to make themselves believe what they want to believe—a necessity for them, so they will not feel alienated in their relationships.


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