The American Psychiatric Association defines Histrionic Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of the excessive emotionally and attention seeking behavior. HPD is a cluster B personality disorder (inclusive of antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders) with onset at or before adolescence characterized by persistent patterns of dysfunctional behavior (excessive emotionality & attention seeking) deviating from one's culture and social environment that lead to functional impairment and distress to the individual and those who have regular interaction with the individual (Harper, 2004). The behaviors of a HPD patient are perceived to be "normal" and "right" and having little insight as to their responsibility for these behaviors.
There are many symptoms associated with HPD, many fo which also coincide with other personality disorders, sometimes making diagnosis difficult. Diagnosis includes the display of five or more of the following symptoms. Those who are uncomfortable in situations...
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...o assist extroverted patients with HPD to relax and focus on their own inner feelings. Hypnosis is also sometimes used to assist patients with relaxing when they experience a fast heart rate of palpitations during an excessively dramatic, emotional and excitable behavior (Rasmussen, 2005).
While the egocentric, attention-seeking behavior of individuals with histrionic personality disorder will make them hard to miss and at times entertaining, it is important to recognize that there may be a deeper underlying problem in need of treatment. The personality characteristics associated with HPD are long-lasting, possibly even life-long, however almost all individuals diagnosed are able to function well socially and at work. With the proper education, medical attention and regimented therapy, HPD patients can lead successful lives and be productive members of society.
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