Histrionic Personality Disorder and Addiction

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A histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a condition where a person constantly seeks attention and exhibits intense emotions. These extreme emotions are usually used to manipulate others to keep the attention on them. Those with HPD constantly try to be the center of attention and can be problematic when they aren’t. This personality disorder is prevalent in about 2% of the United States population. It can have a number of negative effects on the person and the people around them as well. Histrionic personality disorder treatment requires a number of techniques to cope with its symptoms. Additionally, people who suffer from HPD commonly turn to drugs and substance abuse as an escape.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is suffering from histrionic personality disorder or addiction, now is the time to get help. Free by the Sea offers comfortable and effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Let us be your guide to a healthier and happier life.

What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Histrionic personality disorder creates a constant need for attention in a person. While they may not be trying to manipulate people for attention, their behaviors have an effect. HPD can create a number of confusing and inconsistent behaviors, especially in relationships.

People struggling with HPD may often act in sexually provocative ways. This is to gain attention from other people or to control their partners. In relationships, a person dealing with HPD can be unpredictable and confusing. Sometimes a contradiction can be seen in their behavior and how they treat their partner. The person may act like a victim (dependant on their partner) while at the same time being highly seductive and controlling.

People with HPD also have a tough time making and maintaining friends (specifically of the same sex). The person’s behavior may seem threatening to others around them, more specifically their romantic relationships. Since people with HPD tend to be self-involved or shallow, it can be difficult to keep healthy friendships with others.

Signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder

Many of the red flags surrounding histrionic personality disorder are centered around emotional and attention-seeking behavior. Most of these indicators can be seen in early adulthood and can remain for a few years.

Here are some of the symptoms of HPD (at least 5 of these need to be met):

  • Spontaneous and shallow emotion
  • Uncomfortable when they’re not the center of attention
  • Constantly looking for approval and reassurance
  • Misinterpreting how close their relationships with others really is
  • Overly dramatic, exaggerated emotions, and theatrical
  • Signs of provocative and inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • Frequently uses vague and dramatic speech
  • Uses physical looks and appearances to gain attention

As of right now, specialists do not know why certain people develop HPD. Some people believe that a connection between biological and environmental factors may contribute to HPD. If you notice signs of HPD in a loved one or someone you know, it’s time to look into treatment for histrionic personality disorder.

Histrionic Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse

People with personality disorders like HPD will often turn to drugs and alcohol. It is even more prevalent in an attention-seeking disorder like HPD. A co-occurring disorder can occur with continuous substance abuse. Also known as a dual diagnosis, the term “co-occurring disorders” describes a condition where a person struggles with both a mental illness and an addiction to drugs. This can be especially dangerous if left untreated or unchecked.

Studies show that people with personality disorders are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol. Turning to substances only makes the symptoms and risky behaviors worse. Over time a person suffering from HPD and a substance use disorder will begin to exhibit extremely risky sexual behaviors, lowered inhibitions, and a number of negative effects on their life.

Depression and anxiety are both common in people who suffer from personality disorders like histrionic personality disorder. People with HPD will typically show signs of depression after a break-up or their inability to form relationships. This can segway to substance and alcohol use as a way to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms.

Treatment For Histrionic Personality Disorder

histrionic personality disorder treatmentFortunately, histrionic personality disorder is not nearly as devastating as other psychological disorders. People with HPD are usually able to function in society and maintain jobs. However, the real issues come in the form of attention-seeking behaviors and maintaining close relationships.

The main form of treatment for a histrionic personality disorder is therapy. During therapy, a person is able to better understand their behaviors and work towards solving them. The person can also learn techniques to communicate more genuinely with people and create relationships with others. Free by the Sea offers trusted and passionate therapists that are ready to help you improve and feel better.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders (HPD and Substance Use Disorder)

In cases of co-occurring disorders, treatment may be a bit more complex. When someone is struggling with a mental condition like HPD and a substance use disorder, both must be treated separately. The top priority is to stop substance abuse immediately. Substance use can cause a number of negative issues during and after treatment. After this is taken care of a person can move on to more personalized therapy options for long-term recovery.

As far as medication goes, there are no options to directly treat HPD. However, there are certain medications to cope with symptoms like depression and drug-related symptoms. Let’s take a look at common co-occurring disorder treatment for histrionic personality disorder and substance disorder.


Detoxification (or detox) is a very effective and usually the first step towards recovery. Detox is a process that purges the body of any substances (from the point of addiction). This method gives time for the drug and alcohol to be removed from the body so the person can move on with more specialized treatment (for sobriety and HPD treatment). Detox alone will not cure addiction, but it is one of the first steps towards the road to recovery. After detox, the individual can continue towards inpatient and outpatient options.

Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment is effective for severe cases of addiction and is preferred for co-occurring disorders. When dealing with both HPD and substance use disorder, it’s important to have help at all times. Rehab centers like Free by the Sea can offer intensive care, residential housing, and medical care for you or a loved one. With 24/7 service, you’ll always have someone by your side to help.

With an open and supportive environment, inpatient treatments allow the individual to get help from qualified medical professionals and therapists to get their desired level of sobriety down the line.

Therapy Options

As mentioned before, therapy is the best option for cases of histrionic personality disorder treatment. With this in mind, therapy is also a good option for substance use disorders as well. Understanding your thought processes about your behaviors and drug use can be great for long-term recovery. Common therapy options include:

Get The Help You Deserve

At Free by the Sea, we’re here to help you get the histrionic personality treatment you deserve. We want to offer you and your loved ones a comfortable and supportive environment. You don’t have to go through this alone, let’s move towards the life you deserve. Contact us today for more information on addiction treatment and resources.