How to Treat Histrionic Personality Disorder

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Written by:Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

Published On: August 29, 2022

Medically reviewed by: Meaghan Rice, PsyD., LPC

Reviewed On: August 29, 2022

Updated On: July 5, 2023

Overview

It’s estimated that about 1.8% of the population might be living with histrionic personality disorder (HPD). HPD causes volatile emotions and people with it often feel consumed by an overwhelming and intense need for attention from others. This can cause them to act out or engage in inappropriate behaviors, just so people will notice them.

If your loved one is living with HPD, you’re probably wondering how to help. While HPD can’t be cured, treating histrionic personality disorder can be very effective. It can help you learn to manage and improve symptoms and enhance relationships. In short, effectively treating HPD can drastically change your life for the better.

What types of treatment for histrionic personality disorder are common?

  • Psychotherapy (this can be conducted in individual or group therapy)
  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Medication
  • Holistic self care techniques

Types of Treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder

For people with HPD, the desire to be noticed by others can be all-consuming. Histrionic personality disorder treatment focuses on managing symptoms and improving self-esteem so you can change how you interact with others. Whichever treatment option you choose, it can take time to reap the benefits, but ultimately can offer very positive outcomes.

Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) for histrionic personality disorder

Often referred to as talk therapy, the term psychotherapy includes a number of therapeutic treatments designed to help you identify harmful or negative behaviors and thought processes. Armed with this insight, you can begin to work on changing. There are many types of therapy that can potentially be used in treating histrionic personality disorder.

How does psychotherapy treat histrionic personality disorder?

While no one knows exactly what causes histrionic personality disorder, studies show a link between the condition and early childhood trauma. Psychotherapy offers the opportunity to work through past trauma and identify potential causes that result in an intense need for attention.

As people with HPD gain a better understanding of why they behave the way they do, they can learn to change, ultimately developing effective coping mechanisms and building healthier relationships. Therapy provides you with the tools you need to manage symptoms and address destructive behaviors.

Types of psychotherapy for histrionic personality disorder

Many people with histrionic personality disorder (HPD) don’t see an issue with their behavior, which can make treatment difficult. Histrionic personality disorder treatment is more likely to be successful when people find the right form of therapy.

Types of psychotherapy that may help people with HPD include:

  • Supportive psychotherapy: Low self-esteem is common in people with HPD. Supportive psychotherapy is highly recommended and can help improve self-confidence, establish coping skills and techniques, and reduce emotional distress, all of which can diminish the need for attention than others.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy: This form of therapy looks at past trauma and how it might be influencing present behaviors. It’s an excellent option for people who’ve survived an abusive or neglectful upbringing.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is designed to help identify and change harmful thought and behavior patterns. During CBT, patients work to gain insight into how behaviors are impacted by thoughts. They learn how to change unhelpful or harmful patterns into healthier, more productive ones.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT is similar to CBT but is focused on interpersonal relationships. It can help people with HPD develop communication skills and build healthier relationships with others.

“Histrionic personality disorder is often treated through therapy, specifically talk therapy. Different types of therapy can be used to help individuals diagnosed with HPD manage their symptoms. Many involve gaining insight to an individual’s behavior and working on proper reactions and coping mechanisms to help manage the symptoms.”

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), MS Minkyung Chung

Medications for histrionic personality disorder

Although there aren’t any medications designed or approved specifically to treat HPD, doctors may still prescribe it as part of histrionic personality disorder treatment. In many cases, medication is used to treat mental health conditions that coexist with HPD.

How does medication treat histrionic personality disorder?

It’s common for people with HPD to also have other mental health conditions, some of which can interfere with treatment. Not only does HPD greatly increase the risk for depression, but there’s also an increased risk for panic attacks, conversion disorders, and somatization disorders.

Through medication, people with HPD and other mental health conditions might be able to manage symptoms like depression and anxiety. Once these symptoms are under control, it can be easier to focus on HPD treatment, allowing for more progress.

Types of medication for histrionic personality disorder

Since medication isn’t used to directly treat HPD, the types prescribed to people with HPD can vary. Medications that may be effective include:

  • Antidepressants are frequently used to treat symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Mood stabilizers might be suggested for those with comorbid bipolar disorder
  • Antipsychotics can be used to treat symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions

“There’s no set medication for treating personality disorders. However, it’s common for individuals diagnosed with personality disorders to have co-occurring diagnoses, such as anxiety or depression. Treatment for the co-occurring diagnoses is more common.”

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), MS Minkyung Chung

Self care for histrionic personality disorder

While therapy is the foundation of HPD treatment, practicing self care can help you get more out of sessions and improve your overall well-being. Self care can aid in symptom management and enhance your health at the same time. Types of self care that can be beneficial for people with HPD include:

  • Improving sleep hygiene: A lack of sleep can increase the severity of HPD symptoms and have a negative impact on your overall health. Set a sleep schedule and make sure you’re getting plenty of rest each night.
  • Following a healthy diet and exercise routine: Physical fitness can improve your mood and keep you healthy. In addition to regular exercise, you should nourish your body with healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Journaling: People with HPD often turn to others when they want attention. Journaling for mental health is an excellent way to help you sort through your thoughts and get in touch with your own feelings.
  • Working on mindfulness: Mindfulness is a stress-reduction tool that teaches you to be present and in the moment. It may involve meditation, yoga, or other activities.
  • Finding a hobby: Many people with HPD are so focused on attention from others that they fail to consider their own interests. Hobbies can be a healthy outlet and a way for you to develop self-confidence.

“With any mental health diagnosis, it’s important that the ‘trifecta’ of well-being is in balance (sleep, exercise, and diet). When stressors are introduced into our lives, one or more of the areas are affected and destabilizes our ability to cope successfully. Coupling the ‘trifecta’ with boundary building and mindfulness will help in making sure symptoms are manageable.”

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), MS Minkyung Chung

Find Treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder with Talkspace

Even though there’s not a cure for histrionic personality disorder, it’s still possible to lead a fulfilling life. By seeking treatment, you can learn more about the condition and find ways to manage symptoms.

Histrionic personality disorder treatment can make you less dependent on a need for approval from others. Therapy can help you build self-esteem and learn to regulate your emotions. While HPD symptoms can interfere with your day-to-day life, you can regain control by seeking a diagnosis and treatment.

Talkspace offers an innovative, convenient, effective approach to mental health care. Our online therapy platform means you can get help for HPD, or any other mental health condition, from the comfort of your own home or any space you choose. Learn why so many people are turning to Talkspace to get the help they need today.

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Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

Minkyung Chung has over 10 years of experience and specializes in multicultural issues, specifically issues unique to the Asian American population. She enjoys working within the Asian American community to help reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health services and normalize the process of it. Her passion for this topic has led her to focus her research efforts in examining how to help the Asian American community.

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