Histrionic Personality Disorder: a pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention
- Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
- Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
- Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self
- Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
- Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
- Is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances
- Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
A few years ago it was bipoloar disorder. More recently, Narcissistic Personality Disorder has become the diagnosis du jour for bad boyfriends and despised politicians. I just want to remind non-shrinks that there are other diagnoses and other personality styles. And not only are there other personalities, but personalities are usually mixed.
Another caution: while the DSM can point to personality markers, it doesn't describe what's behind certain clusters of observable behavior--the enduring conflicts, deficits, defenses and coping mechanisms, not to mention subjective internal experience and implicit organizing narratives. A DSM diagnosis is, at best, a look at the tip of an iceberg.
A decent treatment of this subject goes well beyond anything I want to tackle in my blog, but I just thought I'd throw my two-cents into the mix.