Histrionic personality disorder is a behavioral disorder characterized by excessive displays of emotion and other attention seeking behavior. It is far more common in women than it is in men. Persons diagnosed with the condition often behave inappropriately in both social and personal situations, and are quick to display intimacy because they often believe they are on a more intimate basis with others than they actually are. They feel uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention in a group, and they often "go with the flow" in other situations in order to garner approval.
People with HPD are usually very high functioning in most situations as they interact easily with other people and enjoy social situations as long as they feel people are paying attention to them. However, in situations where they feel out of control (such as the end of a relationship), they usually react with inappropriately strong emotions and are actually comforted by even the negative attention this draws to them. They are also often narcissistic and manipulative.
A handy mnemonic for the condition is PRAISE ME:
- Provocative (or seductive) behavior
- Relationships are considered more intimate than they actually are
- Influenced easily
- Speech (style) wants to impress; lacks detail
- Emotional lability; shallowness
- Make-up; physical appearance is used to draw attention to self
- Exaggerated emotions; theatrical
HPD sufferers usually seek help when they start feeling the symptoms of clinical depression after the end of relationships. In addition to treatment for this condition, they often respond well to psychotherapy and cognitive therapy.