Histrionic Personality Disorder

Have you ever known anyone with Histrionic Personality Disorder (i.e. a pathological drama queen)? They are constantly urged to make a big deal out of anything and everything, whether good or bad, in order to stay the focus of attention. They can be quite draining to be around after a while. I think I have ever only known one person like this personally, she was also quite childish and immature for her age but would always make out like she was really grown up and that she knew it all. She also claimed to have out-of-body experiences and other similar phenomena.
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  • Wow, I had never heard of Histrionic Personality Disorder before but, thinking about it, I know a few people who fit this description perfectly! They are draining to be with, mountains are made out of molehills and undivided attention is demanded at all times. 



  • @missbishi
    Yep, that's the one! I think your words "mountains are made out of molehills and undivided attention is demanded at all times" sums this disorder up pretty nicely. I think most of us either know or have met people who are "pathological drama queens". If I remember correctly up to 4% of the general population may be inflicted with it. I'm sure we can all probably think of several celebrities and famous people who often display the symptoms of this disorder too.
  • I didn't know this was categorized as a disorder but yes, I've definitely known people who act like that. Constant wining, gossip, and drama. It can be very annoying and stressful to be around.
  • @KenBrace
    Yep, it's now an officially recognized personality disorder, according to the psychiatric DSM-5 diagnostic manual. I think it was first added to the DSM-4 in the year 2000. You'd be surprised at what kinds of things are now classed as mental disorders according to the manual. Caffeine Intoxication was added a couple of years ago!
  • @androl
    That's kind of ridiculous. That's not a personality disorder. It's not something that needs medical treatment. It's called being an a** hole and needs work on their quality of character.
  • @KenBrace
    No, it's not a personality disorder - but it's an officially recognized psychiatric illness. Remember that it's Caffeine Intoxication and not Caffeine Addiction - it's not about using caffeine, it's about overdosing (for want of a better word) on it - still kind of ridiculous that it's in there though. However, there is indeed such a thing as caffeine poisoning which may require medical treatment.
  • I have one or two friends who are exactly like that. They always have something to complain about even the smallest things that any normal person can simply brush off as nonsense. One friend always likes to think that people are jealous of her and want to bring her down. Secretly, I think her personality has irked them. I try to be so understanding toward her because she's an illegitimate child and never had the opportunity to meet her father. I guess this histrionic personality disorder developed from this void in her life. So she wants to protect herself by investing in her ego and blowing things out of proportion for her own benefit. I maintain a set distance from her every now and then. She calms down whenever I do that.
  • @xTinx
    Yep, that pretty much sounds like Histrionic Personality Disorder to be. The crazy thing is that they actually seem to enjoy being like it. Some of them can be quite manipulative and deceiving too. It's definitely true that everybody knows a few drama queens, given the fact that about 4% of the general population have HPD, mostly females. Many people say they should become actors and to be honest, I do think there are quite a few histrionics on television.
  • A person with Histrionic Personality Disorder is someone who always want to seek attention from other people and with exaggerated behaviors. I knew some people who are like this and sometimes they use their skills or for being well known and famous to manipulate other people so that they will always be in the limelight and always be the center of attention. But nowadays they cannot please everybody and there are people who does not easily believe and be caught by the attention by these people with HPD.
  • @ReadmeByAmy
    What I have found is that if you just ignore them and show them no attention and that their tactics aren't working with you, then first they get frustrated and begin to try harder and then they eventually give up. Some of them can, however, get quite devious and manipulative if you do this to them because they just don't like it and may begin to feel spiteful towards you. The way you describe histrionics using their skills or fame to manipulate others actually reminds me of Perez Hilton. I don't know if you saw Celebrity Big Brother recently but Perez Hilton was in the house - definitely a histrionic in my opinion!
  • @androl I thought that too! He made such a big deal over everything and quickly proved himself to be really rather annoying. 
  • @missbishi
    Yep, whenever someone says or I think of the words 'drama king' it always makes me think of Perez HIlton! Even though he probably does act more like a 'queen' than a 'king'. Oh he's a right drama queen that one is! Lol.
  • I guess this is some kind of narcissism. After all, you need a big ego in order to constantly whine about your life only to get attention. Lots of teenage girls do this nowadays, and it's really exhausting and I broke any form of contact with people like this. They are just too difficult to handle.
  • @nergaahl
    It's different from narcissism. Histrionics are not entirely self-absorbed, self-centered and stuck in their own little world like narcissists are. Also, narcisissts only seek positive attention, adulation and adoration whereas histrionics do not care whether the attention is good or bad, as long as they get it.
  • @androl

    I might have gotten some of the facts wrong. But about their own little world, it could be said that histrionics also got one, in my opinion. I mean, as long as they kind of humiliate themselves only to get attention, and a few people with this disorder I met were even faking tragic events in their lives in order to seem more interesting. Though I am not sure if making up stuff is also a part of it, so correct me if I'm wrong. 
  • @nergaahl
    I suppose you could say that they live in their own delusional little world where everything is overly dramatized. Yes, some of them are also compulsive or pathological liars. I have also known someone who I believe may have this disorder who would make things up including faking tragic events. I believe most of them probably either over-exaggerate things or lie about them. In that way it could be similar to narcissism in that they may take the truth and twist little details into lies so that overall what they're saying is more likely to be believed.
  • I know someone diagnosed with this.  She is a very difficult person to deal with for her family.  But I think they are part of the problem because they keep feeding her need for attention by giving her it and not stepping back.  They've been advised by HCPs to step back and not encourage it but they do anyway.  Every time she creates a new 'crisis' for attention they're there, hand-holding and whatnot, taking up all her latest causes for her instead of trying to bring some realism to the situation.  Her father has done so since she was a small child and I think his attitude to her has either caused the disorder to form or at least helped shape it.

    Interestingly, after she was diagnosed, I googled different types of personality disorder and I found the description of narcisstic personality disorder fits her brother perfectly, to a tee.  You might as well have his photo in the Wikipedia entry, lol! 

  • There is a person where I work that I am sure is histrionic, she will go over the top for whatever she gets into her head she thinks she wants or should be. I have taken phone call after phone call from this person because she thinks that no one knows to plow the snow, or some other crazy idea. And it is not just a suggestion it is a full out tyraid just because she thinks that is the way it should be, and if you call her on her behavior she will just then call back all crying and saying how terrible she is.

    I found the best course of action is to call it straight and say if they are out of line, and be very direct in letting them know if they are going to act like this you are prepare to do whatever it takes, from calling the police to getting some sort of psychiatric or social worker involved. It must be terrible to live in such a dramatic state where every little thing is a huge.
  • @rubbb
    That's interesting that they are from the same family. A result of environment/nurture/conditioning perhaps? Or could it be genetic? Or perhaps both? Histrionics are generally more common than narcissists.

    @SunnyDaze
    Yep, I suppose you could call the behaviour of a histrionic "bi-polar" - not in the Bi-Polar Disorder sense of the word but in that it continuously goes from one extreme to the other. They don't care whether the drama is good or bad.
  • On my college there is this girl who always want to be the center of attention, and she already is...but in a bad way. She has a really bad reputation with students and teachers too, basically she's so dramatic and childish that nobody likes her anymore... A few months ago she took her dog to school and of course everyone was petting it and she was surrounded by a lot of people... The curious thing about her is that she's studying psychology.
  • I have known some people like this and thought didn't know it was actually something diagnosed. I avoid these people like a the plague, it's so far from my personality and I just can't tolerate it. 
  • I have heard of drama queens exacerbating things, but this is the first time I heard of histrionic personality disorder, particularly when drama queens are precisely kind of ridiculed histrionic characters in many TV shows.

  • @anorexorcist20
    Maybe she's studying psychology in order to try to figure out her own behaviour?! A bit of reverse psychology there!

    @Buruku
    Yep, when it gets to the point where it is adversely affecting their life, those around them and their relationships then it becomes an officially recognized (mental) disorder.
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