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Understanding Mental Disorder

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)

Overview of HPD

Whereby an individual shows patterns of attention seeking, behaving dramatically, and excessively emotionally. These individuals may be uncomfortable when not the centre of attention and may be inappropriately provocative and sexual towards others. These individuals may be easily influenced by others and express strong opinions without any evidence as to why. Dress sense may be used as a way to draw attention, and excessive time and money may be spent on looking their best. These behaviours begin in early adulthood.


Histrionic personality disorder tends to run in families and therefore there maybe a genetic component causing individuals to develop the disorder. However, it is also thought that individuals learn to behave this way because of how people around them acted growing up. As histrionic personality disorder does tend to run in families, children would have been exposed to these behaviours from a young age and therefore modelled their own behaviour from it. There may also be a link between parenting styles, for example, a lack of constructive criticism or punishment, or being rewarded when completing certain behaviours.


Although treatment of histrionic personality disorder can be difficult, they are faster at seeking and accepting treatment than other personality disorders, however they may exaggerate symptoms and difficulties. Talking therapies are the most often prescribed treatment and individuals may benefit from solution-focused therapy to alleviate difficult situations currently affecting that person. Medications may be prescribed to treat distressing symptoms, such as SSRI’s for symptoms of anxiety or depression.

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