The 10 Personality Disorders: Histrionic Personality Disorder

This post is intended to list characteristics of personality disorders, causes & treatments.

*These are characteristics often observed in a personality disorder though every feature may not apply to each specific personality disorder. Appreciate what is of value to you in this post and leave the rest.

Individuals with a personality disorder often experience chronic, pervasive difficulty with relationships, impulse control, & emotions. The features may be present in childhood, often become prominent in teen years, but often a diagnosis is withheld until adulthood.  Typically, a personality disorder is in sync with one’s ego. Due to this the person may lack self-awareness and externalize the problems associated with their personality disorder. Personality disorders can co-occur.

In order for a diagnosis a person must exhibit difficulty in at least one of the four, (among other criteria specific to the personality disorder);

  • Distorted thinking
  • Problematic emotional responses
  • Over or under regulated impulse control
  • Interpersonal difficulties

Data supports that any person with a personality disorder is more likely to have a substance use disorder. Though, sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate which is causing the other. Personality disorders should be diagnosed with caution.

Personality disorders are grouped into clusters based on common similarities;

Cluster A: Social withdrawal or awkwardness driven by distorted thinking

Cluster B: Dramatic, impulsive and emotional thinking/behavior

Cluster C: Driven by fear

“what is histrionic personality disorder?”

Histrionic Personality Disorder

[Cluster B]


histrionic traits or symptoms of histrionic personality disorder

  • Less common among personality disorders
  • Intense emotions
  • Distorted self-image
  • Attention seeking
  • May be volatile
  • Often seductive and flirtatious


  • May be charming
  • Lively
  • Lacks boundaries
  • Desire to be noticed

“The body is meant to be seen not all covered up.”

Marilyn Monroe

  • More commonly seen in those born female
  • Performs as if there is an audience


  • Theatrical and dramatic
  • Provocative
  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Dislikes routine
  • Self esteem depends on approval of others

“I don’t mean to be a diva, but some days you wake up and you’re Barbara Streisand.” Courtney Love

  • Use inappropriate methods to get attention
  • Larger than life
  • May come across as shallow and insincere
  • May be vulnerable and easily influenced
  • Tend to think connections with others are stronger than they actually are


“what causes histrionic personality disorder?”

Genetics, brain chemistry and environmental factors play a role as the causes of histrionic personality disorder. Often trauma, abandonment & abuse contribute. Their behavior developed as a strategy to cope with their environment, often it helped them function in that environment and helped meet their needs.

They continue to use these behaviors afterwards which often are then maladaptive and viewed as unhealthy. Caregivers may have lacked discipline, reinforced maladaptive behaviors, or praised inconsistently. Attention & approval to child may have been irregular and fluctuated, creating confusion for how child should act.


Therapy > Medication

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT

Schema-Focused Therapy | Focuses on unmet needs that have led to the behavioral patterns, goal is to meet needs with healthier skills

Medications | Most common are antidepressants & mood stabilizers, sometimes low doses of anti-psychotics

Antipsychotics | Antipsychotics can help control intense emotional responses in the treatment for histrionic personality disorder

Mood Stabilizers | Lithium and Tegretol for example can help control the abrupt and severe mood shifts.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe, a talented beautiful actress, was said to have histrionic personality disorder. She lived a flirtatious love life, accepting marriage proposals from multiple men. Often attention seeking and left many disoriented with her behavior.

More on Marilyn Monroe

More on Histrionic Personality Disorder


For the other 9 personality Disorders or other mental health topics visit