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Why Treating Histrionic Personality Disorder is Difficult

Treating HPD (known as histrionic personality disorder) is a very complicated process often due to the nature of the patients. As discussed in my previous article, histrionics are often characterized by intense displays of emotion, self-concern, and attention-seeking behavior.

Treating HPD (known as histrionic personality disorder) is a very complicated process often due to the nature of the patients. As discussed in my previous article, histrionics are often characterized by intense displays of emotion, self-concern, and attention-seeking behavior. All of this can further make things difficult for the psychologist/doctor/parent/friend/spouse who has to cope with these displays on a daily basis. Talking to someone with HPD can feel like banging one’s head against a wall, repeatedly, as histrionics will not listen to other people and instead focus on projecting attention to themselves. Unfortunately, they do not understand that not all social events are supposed to be displays of dominance.

The main form of treatment for histrionic disorder is psychotherapy. Since a defining characteristic of HPD is an excessive amount of emotional attachment in seemingly frivolous relationships, the patient will often become dependent on therapy sessions. The over-dependence and lack of self esteem will not allow productive psychoanalysis nor aid in recovery. Therapists, too, add to the problem. A professional prejudice about HPD might trigger a lot of negative assumptions that will deny many truths the patient actually would give. Since the psychiatrist is more likely to be skeptical (and often rightly so) with histrionics, many of their real-life problems might actually be accidentally foregone. Hence, a buildup of miscommunication.

The bold, showy, boastful personality of someone with histrionic personality disorder is counter-productive to their well-being. While an outsider may attempt to help the victim, the histrionic will often lie or stretch the truth to make themselves appear more glorious. The limelight never seems to avoid these people, and such attention-seeking behavior really makes psychotherapy incredibly difficult. How can one be treated effectively if the only words that come out of their mouths are boasts, hyperboles, and generalizations? Of course, all of these problems are not the fault of the victim (as personality disorders are caused from environmental or genetic abnormalities), however, exaggeration does not accomplish much when seeking an effective treatment of HPD.

In the end, victims of this disorder have to relax and truthfully state what is going on in their lives. Hopefully, on the other side, the therapists (or family members) working with the individual will take him/her seriously enough to prescribe accurate treatment. The most difficult part in treating HPD is having to deal with the vague area between the truth and the outsider looking to help. If that vague area can be reduced (only through the will of the victim) quick and accurate results will be more than likely.

Sources:

- eHow, How to Treat HPD

- Therapist Unlimited, All About Histrionic Personality Disorder

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