Histrionic personality disorder treatment

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Page medically reviewed by Dr Oluwagbenga Odeyemi (MBBS, MPH, MRCPsych), Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Birmingham, in April 2023.

People with histrionic personality disorder typically have a desire to be the focus of other people's attention. This desire to be noticed can be so great that it can affect how you think, feel and act. This might result in rash and inappropriate behaviour. If you have this condition, you may also struggle with low self-esteem, which is both caused by, and results in, an over-reliance on approval from others.

Signs and symptoms of histrionic personality disorder

Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, which can indicate the need for treatment, include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable if you’re not the focus of other people's attention
  • Mood swings
  • Expressing yourself in theatrical, exaggerated or overly dramatic ways
  • Using your physical appearance to draw attention to yourself
  • Being easily influenced by other people
  • Sexually inappropriate, seductive or provocative behaviour
  • Believing that your friendships or close personal relationships are more intimate than they actually are

Specialist treatment for histrionic personality disorder

Histrionic personality disorder is a complex condition and it can be difficult to manage. You may be finding it difficult to move past your current situation or to reach out to anyone about what you’re going through. People with histrionic personality disorder might find it confusing to rely on others for their self-worth, while simultaneously feeling like there’s nobody they can talk to.

Whether you’ve received a diagnosis or have been struggling with your symptoms, Priory can help you to regain control of your daily life. Our team of mental health professionals have treated many people experiencing similar challenges, helping them to live a more rewarding life. We can support you to reduce the impact of your condition in the short-term, and teach you the skills to maintain your recovery long-term.

Seeking professional help for histrionic personality disorder is the most important first step in your recovery journey. Our experts will carry out an assessment to determine your current situation and the level of treatment you need. We'll then be able to work with you to develop a treatment plan that matches your goals.

You don't have to struggle with a personality disorder. Professional mental health treatment will help you to achieve the future you want for yourself. We can help you to feel more capable of handling your responsibilities, enjoy more fulfilling relationships with loved ones, and start to get more out of life.

Types of histrionic personality disorder treatment programmes

Our programmes all adhere to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, which are evidence-based and set by independent bodies. We’ll recommend the best way to proceed with your treatment after your initial consultation. Your treatment can be delivered in an inpatient format, in one of our residential centres and hospitals, through day care or with outpatient treatment at one of our nationwide wellbeing centres. We can also offer outpatient therapy via our online therapy service, removing the need to travel or impact on your other commitments.

Our clinical team will also be able to prescribe medication, if needed. If you have any co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety (which are both common with histrionic personality disorder), treating these can make you better equipped to manage the effects of your personality disorder.

Here are the details of our treatment for histrionic personality disorder at Priory:

Inpatient treatment

This takes place in a community-based environment with 24-hour care and structured daily sessions of therapy and other activities. By taking you away from your usual routine, with all of its challenges and triggers, our inpatient treatment allows you to change your habits for the better.

The support you receive, from both our clinical team and your peers, will improve your self-esteem and confidence so you can move forward with a happier future. This is helped in part by regular group therapy sessions. Collaborative activities also help you get used to managing responsibilities and working with other people. This is important for helping with the symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, as it allows you to function more capably in group settings.

Our highly qualified team will also lead activities which benefit your physical and mental wellbeing, such as yoga, meditation, sports, games and creative classes.

Outpatient treatment and day care

Outpatient treatment options allow you to fit treatment around your current commitments. Outpatient therapy is typically delivered in weekly hour-long sessions at one of our wellbeing centres. If you don’t live close to one of our wellbeing centres, or are unable to travel, online therapy offers the same high quality outpatient treatment, connecting you with our experienced therapists from the comfort of your own home.

Day care allows you to continue benefiting from structured therapeutic support if you’ve already had residential treatment, while reintegrating back to daily life. This makes it a valuable step-down option as you become comfortable with the responsibilities of your day-to-day recovery. It also allows you to continue connecting with peers going through the same journey as you, through group therapy sessions.

Signs that you need treatment for histrionic personality disorder

As with all mental health challenges, it can be helpful to develop an understanding of your condition. Being equipped with as much knowledge as possible will help you to feel better prepared for managing your symptoms.

Histrionic personality disorder has a few key symptoms to be aware of. It's classed as an ‘emotional’ condition, as is typical of cluster B category personality disorders. This often displayed in the apparent need to be the focus of other people's attention. If you don't receive the attention you crave, this might cause you to feel uncomfortable and make you behave in an unusual way.

The ‘dramatic’ element (the word histrionic actually means ‘dramatic' or 'theatrical’) comes from the measures that you may take to gain attention and seek approval. You may feel compelled to entertain others, as well as being easily influenced by other people and their opinions of you.

Therapy types for histrionic personality disorder

Our therapies for treating histrionic personality disorder will help you to understand the root causes of your condition, along with how it affects your beliefs and behaviours.

These are some of the therapies used in the treatment of histrionic personality disorder:

This behavioural therapy focuses on current issues and situations, improving your mental health using a goal-setting approach. By focusing on what's happening in the present moment, you can gain greater control over your reactions and coping skills. It addresses negative thought patterns, in order to encourage healthier feelings and behaviours. CBT can help with histrionic personality disorder by managing impulsive behaviours. It can also help you to feel calmer when making decisions, rather than being led by your emotions and desire to be the focus of other people’s attention.

Learning how to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, empowers you to take control of your emotions and behaviours. This type of therapy will allow you to bring about lasting change and lifelong skills.

DBT helps you to manage the intense emotions associated with histrionic personality disorder, by validating them. By teaching you to accept strong emotions, DBT frees your mind to look at situations differently. This helps you to embrace more productive ways of thinking. You'll then be able to combat potentially damaging behavioural patterns, such as self-harming. Understanding the causes of your emotions is a helpful place to start, but DBT will teach you the skills to ultimately replace these feelings with more positive ones.

High quality treatment, whatever your situation

No matter how you feel at the moment, our experts have the knowledge and experience to turn your situation around. Although there’s no cure for personality disorders, they are fully treatable. Our programmes are designed to help you feel significantly better and start to live with greater acceptance and control of your circumstances.

Our team will help you feel better about what you’re facing every day. They will normalise your reality and help you to realise that your behaviours are not your fault. It's very common to turn your experience inwards and feel guilt and shame about ways you may have acted in the past. However, our compassionate team operate with no judgement at all, showing you that your beliefs and actions are regularly associated with your condition.

Histrionic personality disorder can make you feel isolated, but there are people waiting to help you and others who are working through the same symptoms as you. Talking to someone about what you might have been holding inside will help you to feel empowered to get better.

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