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Spotlight on Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment

written by: Marce • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/17/2011

Although treatment of histrionic personality disorder can be difficult for a number of reasons, it can be highly effective. Understand how therapists help people with this disorder and the benefits of histrionic personality disorder treatment.

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    Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment Options

    Mental health and medical professionals avoid medications for treatment of histrionic personality disorder. Psychotherapy is the most effective form of histrionic personality disorder treatment. An individual who displays symptoms of this disorder will usually seek treatment when a relationship fails or if they have experienced some sort of trauma. Since these individuals often exaggerate their situations, sufferers do not usually shy away from getting help once they seek it because they crave the attention.

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    How Therapists Counsel Histrionic Personalities

    Since individuals with histrionic personality disorder are unable to have an insight into their thoughts and behavior, cognitive approaches do not work well. Instead, a clinician will use solution-focused therapy. This is a short term treatment option and will work towards alleviating present problems in the patient's life.This can be a difficult process since sufferers from this disorder are used to subjective thinking and must learn to objectively think about situations.

    People with this disorder believe their thoughts and behaviors do not affect the way people respond to them. A therapist will help patients see how their actions are perceived by others, especially if they have resulted in negative social encounters. For example, a client may say she doesn't understand why her best friend thinks she is a threat to her husband and their marriage when all she was doing was dressing to accentuate her assets and talking to him in a friendly manner. The therapist will then challenge her explanation and point out that her dress and the type of discussions she was having may be considered inappropriate because they appear to be highly flirtatious.

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    Precautions during Treatment of Histrionic Personality Disorder

    Precautions must be taken during treatment of histrionic personality disorder. Many histrionics will state that they have suicidal ideation, and some will make a suicide attempt as a way to deal with the issues brought up in therapy and to gain more attention. It's important that mentions of suicide are not ignored. A clinician may draw up a no-suicide contract. This is an agreement that outlines what a person should do if they have suicidal feelings such as promising to call someone for help.

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    Benefits of Treatment

    The biggest concerns of histrionics are their relationship difficulties. Therapy can show them how to attend to the needs and wants of others, while continuing to receive what they want.

    During therapy sessions the patient begins to learn that people are more than the way they look, that they are in fact human beings with complex thoughts and feelings. Learning to focus on those characteristics will help a sufferer to get in touch with their emotions, something their disorder typically denies them.

    Over time, people with this personality disorder will learn how to overcome their quick to judge, egocentric ways. They will begin to see improved relationships and fewer traumas in their lives.

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