What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?


April 29, 2022 – Amid all the eye this month to actor Johnny Depp’s $50 million lawsuit in opposition to ex-wife Amber Heard, a psychological time period has entered the general public’s lexicon: histrionic personality disorder.

Depp says that an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 harm his profession, and he’s suing for defamation.

The time period was utilized in court docket in the course of the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a medical and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological evaluation of Heard and stated that she met with Heard for 12 hours.

Curry testified that Heard has each borderline personality disorder and histrionic character dysfunction. Heard has stated she has posttraumatic stress disorder.

Because of her situation, Heard could be very involved with picture, susceptible to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess accountability for doing one thing flawed, Curry testified, as reported in Newsweek.

So what precisely is histrionic character dysfunction, and the way does it differ from the opposite, better-known character problems, resembling paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?

Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra frequent in ladies, might be realized or inherited, and comes with “intense, unstable feelings and distorted self-images,” in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.

And people with the dysfunction are likely to behave dramatically, depend on different folks’s approval to bolster their shallowness, and have an “overwhelming need to be observed.”

Histrionic character dysfunction is much much less generally identified than narcissistic or borderline character dysfunction, says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York Metropolis.

“The factors for the dysfunction might be way more generally seen than identified,” she says. “To diagnose somebody with histrionic character dysfunction, an individual has to satisfy 5 out of 9 very particular standards.”

These 9 standards embrace being uncomfortable until you’re the focus, your feelings shifting quickly, appearing very dramatically – as if performing earlier than an viewers – with exaggerated feelings and expressions but showing to lack sincerity, and consistently in search of reassurance or approval, in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.

Finally, this dysfunction is a critical one, and the label shouldn’t be used until a mental health skilled who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic checks confirms it.

For remedy, folks with the dysfunction will usually search counseling to uncover the motivations and fears related to their ideas and habits, and the counselor will assist the particular person be taught to narrate to others in a extra optimistic approach.

A well being care skilled may also prescribe remedy to deal with the depression and anxiousness that usually include this dysfunction, in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.

“It’s good that individuals are studying about this psychological time period, nevertheless it’s necessary to keep away from making an armchair analysis,” Behr says. “We additionally must watch out to not conflate ‘dramatic’ and ‘histrionic.’ To have histrionic character dysfunction requires sure standards to be met, and this isn’t a time period for use evenly.”


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