The Millstone Times February 2022

Histrionic Personality Disorder How to diagnose this disorder: If symptoms are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical examina- tion. Although there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose personality disorders, the doctor might use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical ill- ness as the cause of the symptoms. If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she might refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, healthcare professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a personality disorder. Since HPD can have symptoms similar to other psychiatric disorders and medical illnesses, your doctor will likely first make a differential diagnosis to rule out other dis- orders or medical conditions that may be causing the symptom. According to the DSM-5, a person must have five or more of the following signs or symptoms to be diag- nosed with HPD: • Discomfort in situations in which they are not the center of attention • Interaction with others that's often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior • Rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotion • Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self • Style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail • Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion • Is easily influenced by others or by circumstances • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are There is a great deal of overlap between the features of histrionic personality disorder (HPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD), so much so that some experts believe that HPD may not actually be distinguishable from BPD. In general, people with histrionic personality disorder do not believe they need therapy. They also tend to exaggerate their feelings and to dislike rou- tine, which makes following a treatment plan difficult. However, they might seek help for depression, possibly associated with a loss or a failed relation- ship, or any other problem causing them depression. They often tend to lay total blame on the other person in the relationship or situation. Those with this disorder are at higher risk than the general population to have depression. Many people with this disorder are able to function well socially and at work. Those with severe cases, however, might experience significant problems in their daily lives. Some have a tough time growing older because as they grow older, they are supposed to act like as an adult should. It is hard for many to accept responsibility as an adult and function under a standard norm. They may still be mentally associating with the age in which they got the most attention. While others move on, they are stuck in a holding pattern, and do not view their behavior as others do. This condition, characterized by overwhelming desire to be noticed and dramatic behavior, has over 200,000 recorded cases per year. This is only those recorded. Imagine those out there who do not seek help. The disorder can last several years or a lifetime. It’s common in ages 18-35, and slightly more common in females. Family history might increase likelihood for some types. Psychotherapy is generally the treatment of choice for histrionic personality disorder. The goal of treatment is to help the individual uncover the moti- vations and fears associated with his or her thoughts and behavior, and to help the person learn to relate to others in a more positive way. Although the precise cause of histrionic personality disorder isn't known, it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental in- fluences. Your genes may make you vulnerable to developing a personality disorder, and a life situation may trigger the actual development. Other factors linked to an increased risk of developing or triggering personality disorders include: • Parenting style, particularly inconsistent or over-indulgent boundaries • Parents who model dramatic or volatile behaviors • A family history of psychiatric disorders, substance use, or personality disorders • Childhood trauma The best way to get the help they need would be to first identify the disorder. If a friend or family member has histrionic personality disorder, it is im- portant to encourage that person to seek help. Without professional treatment, it is unlikely that the symptoms and their related impacts on relationships will improve. Do your best to learn about HPD, including symptoms and treatment, so you can better understand and support your loved one. If you or a loved one are struggling with histrionic personality disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. ...Continued from page 31

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