April 29, 2022 – Amid all the eye this month to actor Johnny Depp’s $50 million lawsuit towards ex-wife Amber Heard, a psychological time period has entered the general public’s lexicon: histrionic character dysfunction.
Depp says that an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 harm his profession, and he’s suing for defamation.
The time period was utilized in court docket in the course of the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a scientific and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological analysis of Heard and stated that she met with Heard for 12 hours.
Curry testified that Heard has each borderline character dysfunction and histrionic character dysfunction. Heard has stated she has posttraumatic stress dysfunction.
On account of her situation, Heard may be very involved with picture, vulnerable to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess duty for doing one thing mistaken, Curry testified, as reported in Newsweek.
So what precisely is histrionic character dysfunction, and the way does it differ from the opposite, better-known character issues, reminiscent of paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?
Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra frequent in ladies, will be realized or inherited, and comes with “intense, unstable feelings and distorted self-images,” in response to the Cleveland Clinic.
And people with the dysfunction are likely to behave dramatically, depend on different folks’s approval to bolster their shallowness, and have an “overwhelming want to be seen.”
Histrionic character dysfunction is way much less generally recognized than narcissistic or borderline character dysfunction, says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York Metropolis.
“The factors for the dysfunction might be far more generally seen than recognized,” she says. “To diagnose somebody with histrionic character dysfunction, an individual has to fulfill 5 out of 9 very particular standards.”
These 9 standards embrace being uncomfortable until you’re the focal point, your feelings shifting quickly, performing very dramatically – as if performing earlier than an viewers – with exaggerated feelings and expressions but showing to lack sincerity, and continuously looking for reassurance or approval, in response to the Cleveland Clinic.
Finally, this dysfunction is a critical one, and the label shouldn’t be used until a psychological well being skilled who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic exams confirms it.
For remedy, folks with the dysfunction will typically search counseling to uncover the motivations and fears related to their ideas and conduct, and the counselor will assist the particular person be taught to narrate to others in a extra optimistic approach.
A well being care skilled may additionally prescribe remedy to deal with the despair and nervousness that always include this dysfunction, in response to the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s good that persons are studying about this psychological time period, however it’s essential to keep away from making an armchair analysis,” Behr says. “We additionally must watch out to not conflate ‘dramatic’ and ‘histrionic.’ To have histrionic character dysfunction requires sure standards to be met, and this isn’t a time period for use frivolously.”