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 harm his profession, and he’s suing for defamation.
The time period was utilized in court docket in the course of the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a scientific and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological evaluation of Heard and mentioned that she met with Heard for 12 hours.
Because of her situation, Heard could be very involved with picture, susceptible to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess duty for doing one thing mistaken, 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, akin to paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?
Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra widespread in ladies, will be realized 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 individuals’s approval to bolster their vanity, and have an “overwhelming want to be observed.”
Histrionic character dysfunction is way much less generally recognized than narcissistic or borderline character dysfunction, says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York Metropolis.
“The standards for the dysfunction might be far 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, appearing 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.
In the end, this dysfunction is a severe one, and the label shouldn’t be used until a mental health knowledgeable who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic exams confirms it.
For remedy, individuals with the dysfunction will typically search counseling to uncover the motivations and fears related to their ideas and conduct, and the counselor will assist the individual study to narrate to others in a extra constructive manner.
A well being care skilled may additionally prescribe treatment to deal with the depression and nervousness that usually include this dysfunction, in line with the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s good that individuals are studying about this psychological time period, nevertheless it’s necessary to keep away from making an armchair prognosis,” Behr says. “We additionally must 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.”