Histrionic Personality

Topics: Histrionic personality disorder, Hysteria, Borderline personality disorder Pages: 7 (2457 words) Published: April 12, 2006
Histrionic Personality

Psychology of Personality

Histrionic Disorder
Histrionic personality disorder has been plaguing to world for many years. This disorder has many different characteristic behaviors. People with this disorder do not have a normal thought pattern and have trouble looking inward to develop a sense of ones self. There are ways to treat this disorder but it is difficult to get the individual into therapy or to remain for a lengthy period of time. It also requires a great deal of patience and work on the part of the therapist. The name may have changed over time but the characteristics remain the same. Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a more recent name for hysterical personality disorder. The history of the word spans about 4,000 years. The common definition for the word hysteria is transient loss of control resulting from overwhelming stress. This was commonly used to explain excitable women who are difficult to treat.

It started in Egypt, where it was believed that the woman's uterus was not fixed in the body. They Thought the uterus would sometimes move into an area of the body that it should not be, and the woman would act out of character causing hysterical personality traits. The treatment was to rub a foul smelling substance where the uterus was believed to be and drive it back to its natural location. They also believed that marriage or childbirth would cure the woman. These practices were continually used throughout history.

Freud believed that hysterical symptoms were do to unresolved Oedipal conflicts. He first used hypnosis and later free association for a cure. He still believed that this was mostly in women. He defined women disposed to hysterical symptoms as being sexually heightened, selfish, and over-privileged with boredom.

Kline and Davis described the behaviors of patients with hysterical disorders as emotionality, irresponsibility, shallowness, giddy, and shortsighted action. They also characterized them as seductive, manipulative, exploitive, exhibitionistic, egocentric, and narcissistic. They also believed that their thinking was determined by emotions and was illogical. Feminist groups have attacked the word hysteria because throughout history it has become derogatory toward women. They have a very good argument. Studies now show that males and females are affected equally giving feminists a firm ground to stand on. In 1980 the American Psychiatric Association did not include the word hysteria anywhere in DSM-III and histrionic personality disorder was put in place. Histrionic personality is defined as a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following: 1.Uncomfortable if not the center of attention

2.Sexually seductive or provocative
3.Shifting and shallow expression of emotions
4.Uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
5.Speech excessively impressionistic/ lacking in detail
6.Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion 7.Suggestible or easily influenced
8.Considers relationships more intimate than they are (Cosgro, M. 2001)
Histrionic personalities are dependent on the admiration of others. They are so dependent that they will develop elaborate ploys to ensure they receive the needed attention. They are self centered and wrapped up in their appearances both physical and intellectual. They are typically labeled as shallow and cold by society. They have little sense of loyalty and will move from person to person to get constant praise. They can read moods very well, and this allows them to assess what action to take to get a desired outcome from others. Because of this they have little knowledge of their own self since they change to please whomever they are reliant on.

Histrionic personalities are often impressive at first sight....

Bibliography: Beck, A., & Freeman, D. (2004). Cognitive therapy
of personality disorders (2nd ed.)
Benjamin, L.S. (2003). Interpersonal diagnosis and
treatment of personality disorders (2nd ed.)
Cosgro, M. (2001). Personality Disorders:
Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and
Horowitz, M. (1991). Hysterical personality style and
the histrionic personality disorder (revised
Horowitz, Marmar, Krupnick, & Wilner. (1974).
Personality styles and brief psychotherapy
Millon, T. (1996). Disorders of personality DSM-IV
and beyond (2nd ed.)
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