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Histrionic personality disorder

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Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a cluster B personality disorder. The name is derived from Latin histrio, which is usually translated as actor. People with this condition constantly seek to direct attention to their own person. Very often they also flirt and try to seduce others in inappropriate ways to get this attention, for example by being exhibitionist. These attempts at seduction usually start when they are teenagers. Histrionics feel a strong need to receive a lot of appreciation, admiration and reassurance. They are hedonists who pose and spend a lot of time on making themselves attractive and popular. HPD affects about four times as many women (4%) as men (1%).[1] It has a prevalence of between two and three percent in the general population, and between ten and fifteen percent in mental health institutions.[2]

HPD lies in the dramatic cluster of personality disorders.[3] People with HPD have a high need for attention, make loud and inappropriate appearances, exaggerate their behaviors and emotions, and crave stimulation.[3] They may exhibit sexually provocative behavior, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and can be easily influenced by others. Associated features include egocentrism, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve their own needs.


A mnemonic that can be used to remember the characteristics of histrionic personality disorder is "PRAISE ME":[4][5]

  • Provocative (or seductive) behavior
  • Attention-seeking
  • 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


Most histrionics also have other mental disorders. HPD is comorbid (often occurs alongside): mood disorders, eating disorders, somatoform disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other personality disorders - especially antisocial, borderline, narcissistic and dependent.


  1. Seligman, Martin E.P. (1984). "Chapter 11". Abnormal Psychology. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-94459-X . 
  2. "Chapter 16: Personality Disorders". DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing. 2000. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bienenfeld, David (2006). "Personality Disorders". Medscape Reference. WebMD. Retrieved 10 January 2007. 
  4. Pinkofsky, HB (September 1997). "Mnemonics for DSM-IV personality disorders". Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 48 (9): 1197–8. PMID 9285984 . 
  5. "Personality Disorders". March 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2, 2006.