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Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality Disorder

Clearview Girls Academy offers counseling and 24/7 teen treatment for emotionally struggling girls, including those with histrionic personality disorder.

Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality Disorder
Clearview Girls Academy can treat your daughter if she’s suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by her excessive attention-seeking behavior and extreme emotionality.  This disorder can find her displaying risky and inappropriate behavior, constantly seeking reassurance, with heightened sensitivity to criticism, a lack of ability to delay gratification, being easily discouraged, or with rapidly changing emotional states (expressing all feelings with the same intensity of emotion). She may seem uninterested in her usual routine and appear “fake” in her relationships.

Histrionic Personality Disorder in Teenagers vs. Typical Teen Drama

Histrionic Personality Disorder is fairly rare in adolescents and in general. Only about 1.8 percent of people are diagnosed with HPD during their lifetime. However, many teenagers may exhibit symptoms that resemble those of HPD. The teenage brain is not yet fully developed. Hence, adolescents’ emotional reactions can be extreme. Moreover, teens often feel things more intensely and experience dramatic highs and lows.

In addition, HPD typically develops during adolescence or early adulthood. Thus, it might be difficult to distinguish between HPD in teenagers and typical emotional reactions and mood swings driven by teenage hormones. However, adolescent histrionic tendencies are not the same as a diagnosis.

People with dramatic personality disorder lack a sense of self and self-worth. Hence, their self-esteem depends on gaining the approval of others. When they are not in the spotlight, people with HPD feel uncomfortable and unappreciated. Therefore, they will do whatever is necessary to be the center of attention. This could include behaving dramatically and inappropriately. That’s why HPD is sometimes referred to as an attention-seeking disorder.

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality DisorderHPD is the only modern diagnosis that kept the term derived from the original histrionic meaning, which is associated with the obsolete concept of hysteria. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians defined “hysterical disorders” as disorders related to the womb or uterus. In the 19th century, Sigmund Freud, Ernst von Feuchtersleben, Wilhelm Reich, and other psychiatrists and psychoanalysts sought to research and define the disorder.

This disorder was first identified in 1968 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders II. It is one of a group of conditions known as Cluster B personality disorders, sometimes referred to as “dramatic” personality disorders. In addition, Cluster B disorders include antisocial personality disorder, borderline, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Diagnosing HPD: Attention-Seeking Behavior in Teens

For a mental health professional to diagnose Histrionic Personality Disorder in teenagers, the individual must exhibit five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Self-centeredness—uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  • Inappropriately sexual or seductive appearance or behavior
  • Rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  • Making up stories for attention
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance and using physical appearance to draw attention to oneself
  • Easily influenced by other people
  • Excessively dramatic, with exaggerated displays of emotion
  • She tends to believe that relationships are more intimate than they are.

Moreover, to receive an HPD diagnosis, an individual must experience significant impairment or distress as a result of these symptoms. Furthermore, when personality disorders are diagnosed in a child or teen, the symptoms must be present for at least one year.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

Along with the above criteria, HPD symptoms also include these additional behaviors and traits:

  • Makes impulsive decisions and fails to think before acting
  • Distorted self-image
  • Constantly seeks reassurance or approval
  • Excessively sensitive to criticism or disapproval
  • Frustrated by situations that involve delayed gratification, constantly seeking immediate satisfaction
  • Easily bored by routine; begins and then abandons projects
  • Blames failure or disappointment on others
  • Gets into risky situations as a result of craving novelty
  • Has difficulty maintaining relationships; often seems fake or superficial.

Attention-seeking teenage daughters can negatively impact their ability to function in social, work, or school situations. Hence, people with this disorder have a higher risk of depression than the general population.

Character Traits of ‘Attention-Seeking Disorder‘

Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality DisorderIn a classic HPD case study, an individual would exhibit the following character traits:

  • Highly emotional
  • Charming
  • Manipulative
  • Seductive
  • Demanding
  • Energetic
  • Impulsive.

“The Life of the Party”

Moreover, people with HPD crave attention. Therefore, they can be energetic, lively, and extroverted. They may have good social skills. However, they use these skills to manipulate others and gain a position as the center of attention.

Therefore, teen girls with this disorder may attempt any of the following tactics:

  • Cause some drama
  • Exhibit inappropriately seductive or flirtatious behavior
  • Talk loudly or otherwise act as if they are performing for an audience
  • Tell funny or engaging stories
  • Dress provocatively and alter their physical appearance
  • Interrupt other people’s conversations
  • Play the victim or the diva.

In people who develop a histrionic personality disorder, these attention-seeking behaviors are ongoing, and, at times, a teenager makes up stories for attention. Furthermore, they continue over a long period. Moreover, individuals with the disorder may even threaten or attempt suicide to get attention.

Dramatic Personality Disorder and Relationships

Teens with HPD often have difficulty establishing and keeping friendships due to their attention-seeking behaviors. Subsequently, as adults, people with HPD often have trouble maintaining intimate relationships.

People with HPD sometimes alienate their friends with their constant demands for attention. Moreover, they are easily bored with routine. Therefore, they may neglect long-term relationships in favor of new ones. So, they have difficulty achieving emotional intimacy in romantic relationships.

In addition, people with Histrionic Personality Disorder may win over new acquaintances with their outgoing, flirtatious, and energetic behavior. However, they tend to engage in excessive displays of emotion. Such displays include temper tantrums or breakdowns when they encounter minor obstacles. Hence, their behavior may embarrass their friends and acquaintances.

Causes of Histrionic Personality Disorder

The exact causes of HPD in teenagers are unknown. However, experts believe genetic, social, and psychological risk factors may cause it. Hence, how an individual interacts with family, friends, and peers may affect their likelihood of developing HPD or another mental health condition.

In addition, an individual’s personality and temperament affect their mental health. This includes the way they respond to stress. And what happens in their environment also impacts their state of mind. For example, a person who is prone to anxiety might develop HPD after experiencing a childhood trauma or relational trauma.

Moreover, studies suggest that children of people with HPD may have a slightly increased risk of also developing the disorder.

Histrionic Personality Disorder Diagnosed: Treatment for Teenagers

Research on how to treat severe personality disorders shows that talk therapy for Histrionic Personality Disorder is the most effective approach. A treatment plan for dramatic personality disorder might include solution-focused therapy and experiential treatment modalities. Treatment guidelines aim to help the individual uncover the motivations and fears behind their thoughts and behavior. Moreover, therapy can help individuals with HPD learn to form more positive and mutually beneficial relationships.

Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality Disorder

However, people with HPD may exaggerate their symptoms or their inability to function. In addition, they may be emotionally needy. Therefore, they may challenge the boundaries of the therapist-client relationship. Hence, HPD treatment may be a slow and, thus, long-term process. However, individuals with the disorder are often able to live relatively normal lives. Moreover, this disorder, like most personality disorders, decreases in intensity with age. As a result, individuals in their forties and fifties may experience fewer HPD symptoms.

In conclusion, normal teen drama and histrionic personality disorder in teenagers have some things in common. These include self-centered behavior, volatile emotions, and risky behavior. However, a summary of the symptoms and implications of dramatic personality disorder and/or antisocial personality disorder makes it clear that there are obvious differences.

5 Key Takeaways

  • Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) in teenagers describes a mental health condition that is characterized by over-dramatizing feelings and situations.
  • Because HPD typically develops during adolescence or early adulthood, it can be difficult to distinguish between HPD and typical teenage emotional volatility and mood swings.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder is diagnosed using a specific set of criteria. In addition, there are several attention-seeking behaviors and character traits associated with personality disorders in teenagers.
  • The exact causes of HPD in teens are unknown. However, experts believe genetic, social, and psychological factors may cause it.
  • Treating histrionic personality disorder focuses on helping individuals become aware of their motivations, manage symptoms, and build more authentic relationships.

Find Help Today!

Clearview works with girls aged 12-17 nationwide and accepts most insurance companies. Our residential treatment center for girls has served at-risk teenagers for almost 30 years.

Fill in the inquiry form or call to connect with one of our admissions team. Our team is readily available to answer any questions. Clearview’s therapeutic boarding school will be a life-changing and memorable experience for your family and troubled teen girl.




American Psychiatric Association

National Institutes of Health

Front Psychol. 2015; 6: 1463.

Nervenarzt. 2010 Jul;81(7):879–87.

Compr Psychiatry. 2010 Sep-Oct; 51(5):462–70.

National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions


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residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls

residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls
residential therapy for girls

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Teen Treatment Histrionic Personality Disorder
Effective teen treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder. Explore tailored therapies and support options at Clearview Girls Academy.