What Is Histrionic Character Dysfunction?


April 29, 2022 – Amid all the eye this month to actor Johnny Depp’s $50 million lawsuit in opposition to ex-wife Amber Heard, a psychological time period has entered the general public’s lexicon: histrionic persona dysfunction.

Depp says that an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 damage his profession, and he’s suing for defamation.

The time period was utilized in courtroom throughout the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a medical and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological analysis of Heard and mentioned that she met with Heard for 12 hours.

Curry testified that Heard has each borderline persona dysfunction and histrionic persona dysfunction. Heard has mentioned she has posttraumatic stress dysfunction.

Because of her situation, Heard could be very involved with picture, liable to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess duty for doing one thing flawed, Curry testified, as reported in Newsweek.

So what precisely is histrionic persona dysfunction, and the way does it differ from the opposite, better-known persona issues, akin to paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?

Histrionic persona dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra widespread in ladies, might be discovered or inherited, and comes with “intense, unstable feelings and distorted self-images,” in line with the Cleveland Clinic.

And people with the dysfunction are inclined to behave dramatically, depend on different individuals’s approval to bolster their vanity, and have an “overwhelming need to be observed.”

Histrionic persona dysfunction is way much less generally identified than narcissistic or borderline persona dysfunction, says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York Metropolis.

“The factors for the dysfunction might be far more generally seen than identified,” she says. “To diagnose somebody with histrionic persona dysfunction, an individual has to fulfill 5 out of 9 very particular standards.”

These 9 standards embody being uncomfortable until you’re the focal point, your feelings shifting quickly, appearing very dramatically – as if performing earlier than an viewers – with exaggerated feelings and expressions but showing to lack sincerity, and continuously searching for reassurance or approval, in line with the Cleveland Clinic.

In the end, this dysfunction is a severe one, and the label shouldn’t be used until a psychological well being knowledgeable who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic assessments confirms it.

For remedy, individuals with the dysfunction will usually search counseling to uncover the motivations and fears related to their ideas and conduct, and the counselor will assist the particular person be taught to narrate to others in a extra constructive method.

A well being care skilled may also prescribe medicine to deal with the melancholy and anxiousness that usually include this dysfunction, in line with the Cleveland Clinic.

“It’s good that individuals are studying about this psychological time period, but it surely’s necessary to keep away from making an armchair analysis,” Behr says. “We additionally should watch out to not conflate ‘dramatic’ and ‘histrionic.’ To have histrionic persona dysfunction requires sure standards to be met, and this isn’t a time period for use frivolously.”

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