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 personality disorder.
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 court docket through the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a medical and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological evaluation of Heard and stated that she met with Heard for 12 hours.
Curry testified that Heard has each borderline personality disorder and histrionic character dysfunction. Heard has stated she has posttraumatic stress disorder.
As a consequence of her situation, Heard could be very involved with picture, liable to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess accountability for doing one thing incorrect, 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 issues, comparable to paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?
Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra widespread in ladies, may 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 likely to behave dramatically, depend on different folks’s approval to bolster their shallowness, and have an “overwhelming want to be observed.”
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 way more generally seen than recognized,” she says. “To diagnose somebody with histrionic character dysfunction, an individual has to satisfy 5 out of 9 very particular standards.”
These 9 standards embrace being uncomfortable until you’re the focus, your feelings shifting quickly, performing very dramatically – as if performing earlier than an viewers – with exaggerated feelings and expressions but showing to lack sincerity, and always searching for reassurance or approval, in line with the Cleveland Clinic.
Finally, this dysfunction is a severe one, and the label shouldn’t be used until a mental health professional who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic exams confirms it.
For remedy, folks 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 individual be taught to narrate to others in a extra optimistic manner.
A well being care skilled may additionally prescribe medicine to deal with the depression and nervousness that usually include this dysfunction, in line with the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s good that persons 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 calmly.”