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Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a condition marked by behaviors that attract the attention of other people. Individuals with HPD crave recognition, both positive and negative; they are overly concerned about whether others notice them and what others think. They often have an exaggerated sense of self, disproportionately seeing themselves in the spotlight while struggling to focus on or sympathize with others. HPD creates serious problems in a person’s relationships — professional, familial, romantic and otherwise — as the affected individual acts out, often in ways that, for those close to them, are hurtful and difficult to understand. Some of the behaviors used to attract attention may also be self-destructive, including substance misuse or self-harm.
Treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder is typically successful, though many individuals are not diagnosed until mid-adulthood. The disorder can be significantly improved and managed with psychotherapy and medication. Clients with HPD benefit most from tailored treatment with providers who can offer a definitive diagnosis and HPD-focused therapies. At Avalon Malibu, we offer premier Histrionic Personality Disorder treatment in the Los Angeles area with top experts in the mental health field.
Histrionic Personality Disorder is part of the “Cluster B” group of personality disorders. Cluster B disorders are also known as dramatic disorders — they are characterized by excessively emotional and unpredictable thoughts, behaviors and interactions. HPD, in particular, is characterized by the use of these behaviors to attract attention from others. People with the disorder purposefully use their appearance and actions to cause others to focus on them. This may include acting seductively or sexually, responding to social cues in an overly dramatic way, fabricating personal problems, taking criticism poorly or drawing attention only to themselves in group settings. They may also frequently change the way they act and look depending on who is around them. Distinctively, HPD is one of the only mental health disorders that directly impacts an affected individual’s appearance including hairstyles, clothing choices and makeup.
Histrionic Personality Disorder may require several years of therapy and may affect individuals throughout their lives. HPD may affect social / romantic relationships or a client’s ability to cope with failures or losses. They may go through many job changes because they are easily bored and have trouble dealing with frustration. They tend to crave new things and excitement, and put themselves in risky situations. It is common for problems to arise in intimate relationships where a deeper commitment is required.
Professional therapists at Avalon Malibu believe that long-term psychodynamic therapy is needed to target underlying conflicts and assist clients to decrease their emotional reactivity. Our therapists work with tools related to intimacy and recall. Histrionic Personality Disorder clients in the Los Angeles area may have difficulty recalling because of their tendency to repress circumstances. CBT is used by our professional therapists to teach clients with HPD to identify automatic thoughts, and to work on impulsive behaviors. Behavioral therapy can also include techniques such as modeling to teach clients about the effect of their theatrical behavior on others in a variety of settings.
Group therapy is also used to allow clients to practice problem solving within normal situations using role playing, so that clients can explore interpersonal relationships and outcomes, by practicing acceptable behavior in different scenarios. Meditation has been used to assist extroverted clients with Histrionic Personality Disorder in relaxing and focusing on their own inner feelings.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) estimates that HPD affects approximately 2% of the general population. Women are diagnosed about four times more frequently than men. Additionally, both men and women with HPD are often diagnosed later in life. Symptoms can emerge in the mid-teenage years but tend to become most severe between 40 and 50 years of age.
As a top treatment center for both mental health disorders and substance use disorders, Avalon Malibu is acutely aware of the link between substance abuse and mental health. We frequently see and treat clients who struggle with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders, including Histrionic Personality Disorder. In some cases, the cause is a phenomenon known as drug-induced psychosis, in which long-term substance abuse changes brain chemistry and leads to the development of mental health symptoms. We are able to treat addiction effectively and offer long-term solutions for related mental health symptoms.
In addition, existing personality disorders are frequently accompanied by substance abuse. HPD is no exception: not only is it a common attention-seeking behavior, but the intense emotional highs and lows of personality disorders often lead to substance abuse as self-medication. Using drugs or alcohol in the presence of HPD can make the disorder worse and create a cycle of addiction and mental health symptoms. Avalon Malibu is equipped to treat addiction and secondary mental health diagnoses, including HPD and other personality disorders.
The causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder are not well understood, but some studies suggest that the disorder may often stem from cold or neglectful parenting that drives an individual to crave attention and approval from childhood. There is also a strong correlation between HPD and genetics, though there is no definitive cause-and-effect relationship between family history and an individual’s likelihood of developing the disorder.
Histrionic Personality Disorder may affect individuals throughout their lives. HPD may affect social and romantic relationships or a client’s ability to cope with failures or losses. They may go through many job changes because they are easily bored and have trouble dealing with frustration. They tend to crave new things and excitement and put themselves in risky situations. It is common for problems to arise in intimate relationships, particularly where a deeper commitment is required. Due to the deep-seated effects and symptoms, HPD may require several years of therapy to reach a diagnosis and treat effectively.
At Avalon Malibu, our expert professional therapists know that long-term psychodynamic therapy is one of the most effective ways to target underlying conflicts and assist clients with Histrionic Personality Disorder in decreasing their emotional reactivity. In particular, our therapists work with tools related to intimacy and processing repressed memories, as well as therapies targeting attachment disorders and childhood trauma. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used by our professional therapists to teach clients with HPD to identify instinct-driven thoughts and to work on impulsive behaviors. Behavioral therapy can also include techniques such as modeling to teach clients about the effect of their theatrical behavior on others in a variety of settings, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy supports clients in building coping skills for distress tolerance, interpersonal relationship effectiveness, mindfulness, and emotion regulation.
Group therapy is also used to allow clients to practice problem-solving within normal situations using role-playing exercises, so that clients can explore interpersonal relationships and outcomes, by practicing acceptable behavior in different scenarios. Meditation has been used to assist extroverted clients with Histrionic Personality Disorder in relaxing and focusing on their own inner feelings.
Avalon Malibu provides exceptional behavioral healthcare for individuals struggling with addiction, mental health disorders or co-occurring conditions in the Los Angeles area. If you or someone close to you is struggling with a disorder like Histrionic Personality Disorder, with or without the presence of substance abuse, we encourage you to reach out to us today. Our team is available to get you started toward the treatment you need to manage symptoms and live a healthy, fulfilling life. Call us at 888-660-1486.