It is a Cluster-B personality disorder characterised by an individual’s excessive superficial emotionality and a powerful need for attention. Women are more likely to suffer from HPD than men. According to DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) there are 8 criterion for HPD:

  1. Discomfort if one is not the centre of attention.
  2. Inappropriate seductive, flirtatious, and provocative behaviour.
  3. Display of shallow and labile emotions.
  4. Dressing in manner to draw attention to themselves.
  5. Speech is impressionistic and shallow.
  6. Suggestible by others.
  7. Overestimate the level of intimacy in a relationship. 
  8. Dramatic, theatrical, and excessively emotional personal presentation.

If 5 out of the above mentioned 8 criterion meet then the individual is suffering from HPD.


The individuals who suffer from HPD usually exhibit their symptoms/signs infront of the opposite gender. They seek intimacy and show inappropriate sexual and seductive behaviour.Their attention seeking tactics are also observed in front of same sex individuals. They are influenced greatly by figures of authority or the alpha males/females in a group of friends. They seek excitement and are bored pretty easily. Their emotional life is dramatic and may exhaust others. However they themselves quickly recover and often can’t understand why others are still upset. Physical attractiveness is their weakness. They like to play the victim and play the part perfectly. When in a relationship, they exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Self-dramatization. 
  • Emotional Blackmailing.
  • Angry scenes.
  • Demonstrative suicide attempts.
  • Playing the victim. 
  • Portraying their partner as evil.


According to Oxford Shorter Textbook of Psychiatry:

These(HPD) patients make many demands on their carers. Frequent problems include attempts to impose impractical conditions on treatment, requests for inappropriate medication, and demand for help at unreasonable times. Other problems include seductive behaviour, threats of self harm, and attempts to prolong interviews unreasonably.

The symptoms/signs of HPD usually begin to become less intense with increasing age of the patient. Medication is of little use. Psychotherapy is the best and the most effective option for these patients.