Gouda's "You Be Fukk'n Nutz" Reference Guide: Histrionic Personality Disorder

Gouda's been out of school lately. Frankly, it sucks. She has to remind herself daily that she's still a psychology major, and that taking a quarter off in order to get a house sold and to find a job and a new apartment is not going to derail her from being able to one day have the true authority to write what she is about to write down below. And that is, how to recognize and kill treat a person with Histrionic Personality Disorder. As a side note, those of you who read my blog on Myspace might recognize this as an expansion on something I wrote there yesterday. I added to it, so you might find reading it a second time to be at least a little more entertaining. ;)

If you should ever meet someone who exhibits the following symptoms, run. Actually, grab a gun, point, and shoot. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself, follow the previous directions, only aim the gun at yourself. At the very least, you could exile yourself to the remotest reaches of the Moab desert and start some sort of whiny, thespian-like commune. The only thing about this that is unappealing is that the collective noise that would be issued from such a large group of histrionics would probably be heard from the other side of the planet. We could solve this by building a dome around them.

I grabbed this from Wikipedia, but I checked it against my internal encyclopedia for accuracy. The following is a list of symptoms for Histrionic Personality Disorder.

  • Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
  • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions.
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance.
  • A need to be the center of attention (self-centeredness).
  • Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear shallow to others.
  • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details.
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
  • Make rash decisions
  • Threaten or attempt suicide to get attention
The DSM-IV has diagnostic criteria for this disorder which include:
  1. is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
  2. interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
  3. displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  4. consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
  5. has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  6. shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  7. is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
  8. considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
My genius psychologist friend Dr. Bart very accurately describes histrionics as thespians who never really left the stage, or who are constantly seeking one. In other words, they are not only actors, but they are very much like the type who are in theater. The bad kind. In those over-wrought, highly exaggerated shows where excessive gesticulation takes precedence over actual humanity and substance. In other words -- these are people you want to punch in the face with a spiked glove.

One thing a histrionic loves to do is to use big words that make them sound smarter than they actually are, and often times they don't even really know the meaning of the words. For example:
"The Civil War is, like, so cool! I just love studying histrionic events!"

Yeah, a histrionic person might not even know what the word "histrionic" actually means, but they would use it anyway because it sounds cooler than "historic," and they want you to marvel at their extensive vocabulary. If that fails to work, they would probably entice you with an ample view of their cleavage. Unless we're speaking of males, at which point he might tell you how often he works out and flex a bicep or something.

A histrionic person might also consider someone he or she just met to be their very best friend. Anyone who is familiar with the character of Michael Scott on "The Office" should know exactly what I mean. Actually, the Michael Scott character is a textbook histrionic. Watch any episode of that show and you will be able to make checkmarks down almost every single symptom while watching him. You'll get extra points if you can effectively diagnose Dwight.

Treating Histrionic Personality Disorder is not exactly an easy thing to do. As with all personality disorders, the behaviors encompass pretty much every scope of a person's interactions with the world at large, and people afflicted with these disorders are not convinced there is anything wrong with them, and this creates the biggest hurdle. It's the rest of the world that has the problem, not them. Also, there is little empirical evidence available as far as effective treatment methods. One that is to be avoided, however, are group therapy sessions only because they have a tendency to perpetuate the attention-seeking behavior of the individual. Anti-anxiety medication may have some positive effect, however.

My favorite method? Probably a heavy tranquilizer at a regular interval to keep the person in a constant state of sedation. Of course, you could always just ignore these people as well. But I've always wanted to use a tranq gun.


  1. Okay -- that's weird. Your comment disappeared when I posted mine. WTF? lol

  2. Matt-Man: If Dr. Bart ever made a cure-all elixir, I'd be the first in line to buy it. He's that good. :)

  3. That's weird, especially since I didnt post a comment. Are you sure you're alright? ; )

  4. Spooky!

    This sounds like my grandmother, God love her. Everything except for the sexual part, thank God! I don't think I could handle seeing Gran trying to be seductive. She's very dramatic about everything, and used to perform in her little town's plays until she moved. Very center of attention. And strangely enough, she was the youngest of 9 children. Matt-Man?!