What Is Histrionic Persona Dysfunction?


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

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

The time period was utilized in court docket throughout the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a scientific 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 character dysfunction and histrionic character dysfunction. Heard has mentioned she has posttraumatic stress dysfunction.

As a consequence of her situation, Heard may be very involved with picture, vulnerable to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess duty for doing one thing improper, Curry testified, as reported in Newsweek.

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

Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra widespread in girls, may be discovered or inherited, and comes with “intense, unstable feelings and distorted self-images,” in response to 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 want to be seen.”

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

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

These 9 standards embrace 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 always looking for reassurance or approval, in response to the Cleveland Clinic.

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

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

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

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

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