The Extremities Of Histrionic Personality Disorder

In the United States – a case in which an assistant football coach has been suffering from a mental health condition known as histrionic personality disorder has hit the headlines. Lawyers representing the coach – Jerry Sandusky, have attributed extreme behaviour towards the condition, illustrating the extent to which metal health ailments can affect people. Complaints relating to Sandusky’s extreme and intimidating behaviour were made to the authorities and lawyers have suggested that he is unable to control his actions as the result of being in the throes of a serious, psychiatric-condition.

Within the mental health community, histrionic personality disorder or HPD is considered to be a condition in which sufferers behave in an intensely emotional and dramatic manner – that is considered by some to be dangerously irrational and impulsive. Like many other personality disorders, the precise causes of the condition are unknown, but genetic s and traumatic childhood experiences are thought to play a part. Interestingly, diagnosis is more prevalent amongst women than men, although this may be the consequence of reductive stereotyping which suggests it is unacceptable for women to be assertive in public – particularly within a sexual context.

Patients with HPD may appear to be overly assertive and predatory – and the disorder is often characterised as a means of asserting personality and a need to be the centre of attention. For those that suffer from it, relationships are maintained in a manner that is beneficial to the sufferer, with the world very much revolving around them. Predatory behaviour is often used as a means of validating existence, and most people who suffer from HPD display little aspects of empathy or sympathy towards others.

For those who suffer from HPD – intimate and sexual relationships are constructed in an artificial manner in order to replicate the dynamics of what they perceive to be normative romantic interplay – which can often be unsettling for those subjected to these behaviours.

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