Signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder – One of the Most Misunderstood Disorders

Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. Do not use information in this or any other article to self-diagnose or diagnose other people. If you feel that you or someone close to you may possess some of the characteristics mentioned in this or any other article on our blog and need help then please, consult a licensed mental health professional. This article is not a substitute for professional advice, but for general guidance.

Histrionic personality disorder as defined in DSM–IV–TR and DSM–5 is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of long-term (rather than episodic) self-dramatization in which individuals draw attention to themselves, crave activity and excitement, overreact to minor events, experience angry outbursts, and are prone to manipulative suicide threats and gestures. Such individuals appear to others to be shallow, egocentric, inconsiderate, vain, demanding, dependent, and helpless. The disorder was formerly known as hysterical personality disorder.

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is part of a larger group of psychological disorders, called “Cluster B” personality disorders. Disorders in this category are generally categorized as being dramatic, emotional, or erratic.

Although it is unclear what causes histrionic personality disorder specifically, it is most definitely a multifactorial disorder. A histrionic personality disorder is most likely the result of a combination of acquired and inherited causes. According to one theory, Histrionic personality disorder can evolve as a result of childhood trauma. Children may endure their trauma by coping with their environment in ways that might ultimately lead to a personality disorder. Personality disorders in children may develop because of a child’s attempt to cope with a traumatic event or environment.The likelihood of developing a histrionic personality disorder can also be influenced by parental types. Overindulgent or inconsistent parenting may lead to the development of histrionic personality disorder in children. Furthermore, parents who model dramatic, erratic, unpredictable, or inappropriate sexual behavior for their children put them at a high risk of developing this personality disorder. Since histrionic personality disorder appears to run in families, there is some speculation that it may have a genetic component. A family history of personality disorders, mental disease, or substance use disorders is a risk factor for histrionic personality disorder, as it is for many other psychiatric disorders.

As per the DSM-5 criteria, a diagnosis of a histrionic personality disorder requires a pervasive and ubiquitous pattern of consistent attention-seeking behaviours and emotional dysregulation as outlined by specific manifestations. Diagnosis requires meeting five (or more) of the following criteria:

  1. The person is uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  2. Have interactions with others characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  4. The person is suggestible (that is, they are easily influenced by others or circumstances)
  5. Consistently uses their physical attention to draw attention to self
  6. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  7. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are
  9.  Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  10. Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details

In addition, the symptoms must cause significant impairment or distress in an individual.

If you have HPD, you might also be easily frustrated or bored with routines, make rash decisions before thinking, or threaten to commit suicide.

If you notice five (or more) of the above mentioned signs, we advise you to visit a professional who will be able to provide you the support or guidance that you may need.


APA Dictionary of Psychology. Histrionic Personality Disorder . Retrieved May 05, 2021, from

Psychology Today. Histrionic Personality Disorder . Retrieved May 05, 2021, from,relationships%20and%20lead%20to%20depression.

Carmella Wint (August 4, 2017). Histrionic Personality Disorder. Retrieved May 05, 2021, from

Jennifer H. French and Sangam Shrestha (November 17, 2020). Histrionic Personality Disorder. Retrieved May 05, 2021, from

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