02 Jan Look At Me!! Paying Attention To The Baby Boomer with Histrionic Personality Disorder
Many of us Baby Boomers may have gone through our lives without even hearing about histrionic personality disorder. The reason is that it not easily identifiable and even when recognized may just be seen as a personality trait, (i.e., a drama queen) rather than a disorder. There is, however, a difference between a personality trait and a disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, (DSM-IV) Disorders tend to impede ‘normal’ functioning and require professional help in order to change.
As the name suggests, people with histrionic personality disorder tend to be ‘dramatic’ and show more emotion than the average person. They are always seeking attention and will do just about anything to get it. This desire often causes them to behave inappropriately in work and social situations. They tend to excel in jobs that give them a lot of room to be creative and struggle with anything that requires deep analytical and/or logical thinking. They can be wonderful actors as they love the spotlight; and very poor assistants as they need attention and are not good at being in a ‘supporter’ position.
Histrionic personality disorder can cause persons to have trouble maintaining any kind of intimate relationship. They develop friendships quickly and often see more ‘connection’ in a relationship than might the other person. This tends to drive others away as they become scared that things are moving too fast. The need to be the center of attention also puts a damper on relationships as the other person quickly realizes that the person with the disorder only thinks about themselves.
There is no definitive etiological cause that can be attributed to the diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder. It is speculated that it may be related to things that happened in one’s childhood and/or one’s genes. Women seem to be more frequently diagnosed, but there is no data the disorder is more prevalent in females than in males. Instead, it is reasoned that the disorder may not be as readily considered for male patients; therefore, they go undiagnosed and untreated.
Frequently people with histrionic personality disorder receive treatment for co-morbid depression which is oftentimes seen in such individuals- particularly at the end of an intimate relationship. The medication given for depression in combination with psychotherapy can be effective in helping the patient function ‘normally.’
In 2007, a new study using cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) to treat histrionic personality disorder was done. The study involved 24 CAT sessions and 4 additional sessions spread over 180 days. The five patients who participated in the study were shown to experience a sudden decrease in the symptoms of the disorder and the progress made during the treatment was found to have been maintained. This study gives a lot of promise to patients and their loved ones.
If you or someone who love seem to be overly emotional and self-centered, be sure to pay close attention and see if you notice some of the other symptoms noted in this article. It is important that Baby Boomers keep healthy mentally as well as physically.
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