Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment

Nearly 20 percent of all American teenagers are diagnosed with an Anxiety disorder before they turn 18. Anxiety is much more than simply feeling nervous or afraid; teens may be plagued with debilitating fear and worry. When teens experience Anxiety, their symptoms often occur on a spectrum ranging from chronic levels of general unease through severe and disabling anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, and other avoidance symptoms. Treatment options depend on which type of Anxiety the teen is experiencing.

Teen anxiety disorders cause a broad range of symptoms. The severity of symptoms is often directly tied to how much control teens feel over the cause. Flashbacks, dissociation, nightmares, and obsessive thoughts, may be tied to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma, while other symptoms are generally associated with Anxiety itself.

What Does Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder Look Like?

  • Teen anxiety disorders cause a broad range of symptoms. The severity of symptoms is often directly tied to how much control teens feel over the cause. Flashbacks, dissociation, nightmares, and obsessive thoughts, may be tied to trauma, while other symptoms are generally associated with Anxiety itself.
  • Teens who experience chronic anxiety may develop panic attacks, which can be disabling and terrifying. These attacks include extreme fear and intense physical symptoms, such as high heart rates, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
  • Panic and anxiety symptoms not only put strain on the heart, but can also create a self-defeating cycle in which teens isolate out of fear of having an attack in public. Treatment is critical to halt the cycle and provide guidance on how to manage symptoms.

Signs of Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder

Extreme emotional reactions and mood swings

Extreme emotional reactions and mood swings

Obsessing over self-image and appearance

Obsessing over self-image and appearance

Extreme reactions to normal constructive criticism

Extreme reactions to normal constructive criticism

Being insincere or “fake” in presentation

Being insincere or “fake” in presentation

Self-destructive behavior (taking risks)

Self-destructive behavior (taking risks)

Causes of Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder

Researchers believe Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder may be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, early upbringing, and environmental influences. All of these factors play a role in the development of this disorder, yet no one influence can be conclusively labeled the main cause.

While there is no one cause for any personality disorder, including HPD, we do know a lot about what makes teens more likely to develop them. In terms of Histrionic Personality Disorder, these influences are the most impactful:

Genetic factors – Teens who are related to or descended from people who have a history of developing personality disorders may be more likely to develop Histrionic Personality Disorder themselves.

Abuse – A history of trauma, especially with regard to early childhood abuse or neglect, may raise a teen’s risk for HPD. Teens who have been abused very often act out to seek attention in an effort to self-soothe negative emotions.

Abandonment – Childhood neglect and abandonment may significantly raise a teen’s risk of developing Histrionic Personality Disorder.

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Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco


of Americans struggle with Histrionic Personality Disorder.


of Americans have been diagnosed with a personality disorder.


of all people with HPD self-medicate with substances.

How Can I Help with Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Don’t encourage their behavior – Teens with Histrionic Personality Disorder may be affectionate, engaging, and exciting to be around. Unfortunately, the more attention they receive, the more likely they are to escalate over-the-top behaviors. As a parent, the best way to help your teen is to learn how to identify the difference between positive and negative attention-seeking behavior.

It’s okay for teens to be bubbly, sociable, and even sarcastic – these behaviors aren’t always desirable, but they are very normal for teens. However, teens with Histrionic Personality Disorder take these behaviors much too far. If their behavior becomes self-destructive or starts to negatively impact them, despite your attempted interventions and guidance, it is a sign that it’s time to seek outside help.

Help them manage their thoughts – Teens with Histrionic Personality Disorder often struggle to manage their own thoughts, getting stuck in a negative feedback loop that drives them to seek more attention. Unfortunately, the nature of HPD makes it very difficult to address; to teens, even negative attention may be perceived as positive, meaning that acting out and being punished is seen as “better than nothing. Your goal should always be to balance your ability to respond and support without enabling further histrionic behavior.

Be there – Teens often feel intense loneliness and experience extreme fear of abandonment, even when frequently reassured. Parents should be present often and set firm expectations when they will be away to relieve these expectations.

What Types of Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment Are Available?

The best way to treat any personality disorder, including Histrionic Personality Disorder, is to address the whole person – physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral influences included. Talk therapy is by far the best strategy for achieving this goal because it empowers teens to understand their illness, accept responsibility for their actions, and change insecurities and self-destructive behaviors.

Therapists work one-on-one or in groups with teens to help them understand how teen Histrionic Personality Disorder impacts their lives and how to seek attention in a normal, healthy manner. This includes addressing underlying insecurities, fears of abandonment, and obsessiveness around attention or the constant need for outside approval to feel worthy and self-assured.

Talk Therapy

Teens who develop Histrionic Personality Disorder often struggle with chronic behavioral issues that stem from years of repeated negative patterns. For this reason, HPD can be very difficult to treat, requiring a significant investment in time and therapeutic sessions. Therapeutic attempts to “break free” from these patterns often starts with intensive therapy sessions that help teens make connections between how they behave and how they feel, including why they are insecure.

Once teens have a better grasp on Histrionic Personality Disorder, therapists help them to learn how to communicate, engage in healthy activities, and develop healthy social relationships. Sessions also help teens develop good stress, anger, and anxiety management protocols that let them self-soothe in healthier ways without obsessing, feeling insecure, or engaging in over-the-top, destructive behaviors. By addressing the whole person, teens regain control over their compulsiveness.


Medications will not and cannot cure a personality disorder, including teen Histrionic Personality Disorder. However, they may help teens control their symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, and mood swings. In severe cases, medication may give teens just enough relief to allow them to focus on therapy, the best way to address the disorder.

Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

At Paradigm San Francisco, we specialize in creating safe, therapeutic spaces for teens with Histrionic Personality disorder. Our specialized facilities focus on giving teens the tools they need to self-heal while ensuring they have 24/7 support from therapists, counselors, and their peers. Every teen’s treatment path is individualized and customized to meet their unique needs, making a stay at Paradigm truly helpful.

For teen Histrionic Personality Disorder, Paradigm uses a baseline treatment protocol that includes the latest and best evidence-based therapeutic approaches, on-site classrooms for learning, activities involving nature, and daily socialization programs that help teens learn to engage with others and communicate in a healthy manner. Teens learn how to disengage from their obsessive thoughts, relax, de-stress, and still maintain relationships without over-reliance on outside attention or approval.

A Place for Treatment

Paradigm San Francisco is located near nature, making it a restful and soothing location for emotional healing. Just steps away are locations suitable for hiking, swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the outdoors. One of the many important facets of our program is teaching teens how to explore these outdoor spaces and reconnect with nature to ground themselves and feel at peace.

Being with Others

Teens who stay at Paradigm stay in an environment where they are encouraged to interact with their peers – other teens who are in treatment. This can be extremely helpful during inpatient treatment for Histrionic Personality Disorder because it gives teens the opportunity to practice newly-developed social skills.

“ I had been stumbling through life for many years, some good weeks, but mostly bad ones. I blamed everything negative in my life to bad luck or other people being jerks. It took a real bad event in my life to begin looking inward and to come to terms that i was the sole reason for all things bad in my life and I had no idea how to change or fix the problems. You've changed my life and I have the deepest gratitude to the entire staff for helping me to the depths you have. I will stay in touch throughout my life, as I feel like you really care how I am doing, and am going to do. “

– Robert L.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Histrionic Personality Disorder

What’s wrong with wanting attention and approval?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting people to like you and appreciate you. In fact, wanting attention and approval is a very normal human experience! The problem starts when you can’t feel good about yourself unless others approve of you and pay attention to you constantly. This obsession with outside approval can cause you to become very insecure and to have extremely low self-esteem, which may cause you to behave in ways that attract negative attention or even push people away.

It’s normal and healthy to want attention and approval from time to time, especially from the people you love. If you need it just to feel okay with yourself, however, it may be a sign that you have insecurities you need to address. The reality is that you should feel good about yourself and your behaviors even without constant approval.

Can teen Histrionic Personality Disorder be cured?

Maybe. The truth is that science doesn’t yet fully understand what causes HPD and other personality disorders. There is some correlation between structural differences in the brain and neurological/biochemical makeup that may make someone more likely to develop Histrionic Personality Disorder, but even that is not a guarantee. Until researchers identify the number one cause, the best way to address this and most other mental health struggles is with talk therapy.

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