Histrionic Personality Disorder Stories: Managing Symptoms, Finding Hope, and Healing Through Treatment

Personality disorders are difficult mental illnesses to live with and to treat. Histrionic personality disorder causes attention-seeking, provocative behaviors, mood swings, distorted self-image, and difficult relationships. It can be challenging to live with this condition, to form healthy attachments, and to enjoy life. There is hope for anyone with a personality disorder because treatment can be effective. Residential treatment is often the solution for successful long-term management. Individual stories of hope and healing attest to this.

What makes a personality disorder so difficult to treat is that the individual living with it struggles to recognize their own flawed thinking, identity, and world view. However, this doesn’t mean there is no hope. Treatment can be effective, but it often requires a push and more than just outpatient therapy.

To truly heal from histrionic personality disorder, consider taking advantage of the intensive, life-changing care provided in residential facilities. Whether it’s you or a loved one struggling, read these stories of healing for inspiration.

What Is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

This is a personality disorder characterized by a need to be the center of attention, shallow relationships with others, emotional outbursts, dramatic behaviors and reactions, and a constant need for approval or reassurance.

If you have histrionic personality disorder, you have a way of thinking and reacting that is problematic, but you may not realize it. Many people with this disorder resist getting help for this reason. But, at the same time you struggle with developing healthy relationships; you may have depression or anxiety; and functioning at work can be difficult or impossible.

Life can be difficult with this condition, but there is hope too because treatment can be effective. Therapy is the best treatment, and it takes time working with a caring professional to learn how to manage symptoms and change behaviors. Many people do best in residential care because they are able to focus on therapy and learn practical, useful strategies for symptom management over the long-term.

Understanding My Histrionic Personality Disorder

“I was always really social, and I didn’t think it was a problem. It’s good to be social, right? I had a lot of friends and everyone seemed to like me. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started to feel unhappy about it, though.

Being the center of attention thrilled me. I wanted attention from everyone, and because I knew I was kind of pretty I used that. I was a big flirt, and sometimes it got me into trouble, but not seriously. Not until there was an incident at work that got me fired. I came onto my boss and he wrote me up for sexual harassment. I was so embarrassed, and I didn’t handle it well. I could have apologized or taken the training, but instead I blew up and made a scene. I got fired.

Instead of getting another job I went through a series of relationships. I used them for money and to make me feel good about myself, but my emotional outbursts kept ending the relationships. When I ran out of money, I went to my parents and they insisted I get treatment. For what? I didn’t know, but I didn’t have much choice.

When the therapist at the treatment center told me I had histrionic personality disorder, I didn’t even know what it meant. But hearing the signs and symptoms, the way of thinking characterized by it, it was like a lightbulb went off. It was me down to the letter. I had to admit that the way I acted caused problems, and I needed a change. That recognition was the hard part. After that, treatment wasn’t exactly easy, but I learned how to challenge my negative thoughts, out-of-control emotions, and dramatic reactions. I’m a much happier person now and ready for real relationships.” – Sara A.

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Residential Treatment Saved Me

“My family seemed to know that I needed help long before I did. I always struggled with depression, and as I got older I also had a hard time having a sustained relationship. I had a hundred friends but never settled down with one partner.

When my dad pushed me to get treatment for depression, I agreed because I wasn’t happy. My therapist diagnosed me with both depression and histrionic personality disorder. I didn’t like that answer, so I stopped going.

Things continued going downhill for me, and I finally agreed to a residential treatment center. Honestly, at the time I only did it because I thought it could be fun. I didn’t take it seriously. But going to treatment and focusing on what was under the surface of my depression day after day opened my mind. I realized I had been barely living, just surviving and never letting people really get to know me.

Working with my therapist in treatment helped me realize that the way I thought about myself and related to other people was so flawed. They helped me understand why I had so many struggles in my life and how the personality disorder triggered depression.

Also really life-changing were the relationships I developed with other residents. I was forced into close quarters with these other women, and I had to face my difficulties with getting to know people. I couldn’t just talk about myself or be the life of the party anymore. Not everyone liked me until I opened up more deeply and learned to listen to them. This treatment saved me, and going back home I had hope for the first time in years, hope that I could be happy and have a long-term, healthy relationship.” – Taylor H.

Managing Symptoms After Treatment

“When I went into treatment for my personality disorder I was pretty skeptical. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me. In my mind it was other people who just didn’t get me or appreciate me. Therapy turned me around and helped me see that my own behaviors were problematic.

Treatment was great, but going home was tough. I felt like I was on my own, that my therapist was abandoning me in a way. I was hurt and scared. It took some time to readjust, but thankfully my sister was really supportive. She let me live with her until I felt comfortable getting my own apartment again.

During treatment, I learned some useful strategies that helped me manage my symptoms. She taught me how to recognize my reactions and behaviors that are negative and damaging. I learned to track my emotions and stop and reflect before acting.

This has been so useful in going back to work and relating to other people. On one of my first days back, I was talking with a coworker. I started to get frustrated because he was talking about himself and I didn’t think he cared where I had been or what happened to me. In the past I might have had an outburst, or I might have made up a story to tell him to sound more interesting. I stopped that urge and instead listened to his story and asked questions.

By being able to recognize my urge to overreact, to be selfish, to get emotional, and to change that reaction is huge. I never would have been able to do that without treatment. I’m not perfect. I still overreact. I still want to be the center of attention and don’t naturally listen to people, but I’m trying and changing. And that means I have real friends now, and I’m happy.” – Melissa P.

The constant need for approval, the reckless behaviors, the emotional outbursts—these are things you don’t have to live with forever. Stop letting histrionic personality disorder run your life. You can make positive changes. You can heal. It just takes the recognition that you need help and the willingness to receive it.

Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path to lasting wellness.