Chapter 54. Histrionic Personality Disorder

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.; Sara E. Allison, M.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585622986.263680



No body of treatment research exists for histrionic personality disorder. Two meta-analyses of psychotherapeutic treatments for personality disorders (Leichsenring and Leibing 2003; Perry et al. 1999) suggest that these conditions respond to both psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, none of the studies included focused specifically on histrionic personality disorder. Most of the literature on this diagnostic entity has been written from a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic point of view. Recently, contributions from cognitive therapy have appeared. Both approaches are summarized in this chapter, and the discerning reader will note considerable overlap between the two therapeutic strategies. The lack of rigorously designed treatment trials on histrionic personality disorder requires us to rely on accumulated clinical wisdom regarding the treatment of these patients. No medications are thought to be useful, so psychotherapy must be considered the cornerstone of treatment.

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Table Reference Number
Table 54–1. DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for histrionic personality disorder
Table Reference Number
Table 54–2. Differentiation of neurotic and primitive variants of histrionic personality disorder


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