Living with someone who suffers from histrionic personality disorder will be an exhausting roller coaster ride with the ups and downs of one dramatic scene after another. When it comes to attention, unconditional love, positive regard and reassurance, there will never be enough. Their constant unmet needs will create havoc in the lives of family and friends, not to mention anyone who happens to be close by.
This personality disorder is a mental illness and one of many personality disorders that creates these unmet needs and causes dysfunctional relationships through histrionic behavior. They will go to extremes to get what they believe they need and nothing will seem to relieve their anxiety over the issues they create themselves. Chances are family and friends have tried everything they know how to do and have come to the point of being fed up before someone will finally think to seek a psychiatric evaluation. This will be the first step in the process of learning to live with one who suffers from histrionic personality disorder.
HOW TO LIVE WITH SOMEONE DIAGNOSED WITH HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER:
1. Seek medical and psychiatric advice.
It's believed that people who develop this disorder have a genetic predisposition that's triggered by a variety of environmental factors, such as any form of abuse, abandonment and/or family dysfunction. The unhealthy way to relate and communicate becomes a pattern of dysfunction, and when these childhood issues go unresolved, this can evolve into a histrionic personality.
The key to addressing this disorder will begin with assessing the person's personality issues through a series of tests given by a medical and/or psychiatric specialist. They will look for signs and symptoms which include the constant need for attention, high emotion, extreme need for unconditional positive regard, mood swings and being overly concerned with appearance. They will assess the combinations of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that indicate the histrionic disorder, which will rule out any other medical or psychological disorders. The evaluation will include interviews with the family and a medical history.
2. Find support and become a member of the recovery team.
Treatment might include a support group, sessions with a psychiatrist, medication or a host of other recommended therapies depending on the severity of the disorder. Still, the key to recovery for all will be found among those who live with the issues the disorder creates. All involved should seek an education on the aspects of this disorder and how it creates havoc within the family. The one who suffers from histrionic personality disorder should become an active member of the team and be educated as well.
3. Take steps to disable the way family and friends relate and enable the histrionic behavior.
Since this disorder creates dysfunctional relationships, family and friends have unintentionally enabled the ability for the histrionic behavior to remain what causes the dysfunction. It's become a cycle of dysfunction where everyone involved revolves around the disorder. They enable by providing what the histrionic personality is seeking. As long as it pays to behave that way, the disorder and dysfunction will be worth the price in the eyes of the one with a histrionic personality. There will need to be a negative consequence when the disorder misbehaves, and praise when the personality becomes more appropriate. It's not as easy as it seems, but patience and self discipline among all involved will be the key to recovery.
4. Avoid emotional scenes through emotional distancing.
The family and friends will need to stop reacting to emotional outbursts in emotional ways. The key will be to decrease the drama this disorder creates. Keep calm at all times, no matter how dramatically the one who is suffering cries and screams. By presenting an attitude of peaceful but concerned acceptance, over time will help to decrease histrionic behavior, due to the fact that it no longer pays to behave that way. Simply deal with every threat with objective logic.
5. Encourage all involved to seek help for unresolved issues.
Since this disorder involves everyone who lives with the dysfunctional personality, each member of the family should seek assistance in resolving the issues and the part they played in creating the issues they live with today. When everyone, including but not excluded to the one suffering from histrionic personality disorder begins to understand how this disorder created the unhealthy family scene, only then will they begin recovery.
Anyone and everyone who lives with someone who has a histrionic personality disorder has played a role that will need to be changed and rearranged. When all involved becomes educated as to what role they played and the ways they enabled the disorder to create dramatic family scenes, the issues begin to decrease. The key to recovery will be equal to the degree of love, patience and motivation among the team.
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