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 throughout the testimony of Shannon Curry, PsyD, a medical and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, who carried out a psychological evaluation of Heard and mentioned that she met with Heard for 12 hours.
Curry testified that Heard has each borderline character dysfunction and histrionic character dysfunction. Heard has mentioned she has posttraumatic stress dysfunction.
On account of her situation, Heard may be very involved with picture, susceptible to cruelty and blaming others, and unable to confess accountability for doing one thing incorrect, 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 problems, resembling paranoid, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive?
Histrionic character dysfunction – histrionic means overly theatrical or melodramatic – tends to be extra frequent in ladies, may be realized or inherited, and comes with “intense, unstable feelings and distorted self-images,” in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.
And people with the dysfunction are inclined to behave dramatically, depend on different folks’s approval to bolster their vanity, and have an “overwhelming want to be seen.”
Histrionic character dysfunction is much much less generally recognized than narcissistic or borderline character dysfunction, says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York Metropolis.
“The standards for the dysfunction might be way more generally seen than recognized,” she says. “To diagnose somebody with histrionic character dysfunction, an individual has to satisfy 5 out of 9 very particular standards.”
These 9 standards embrace being uncomfortable except you’re the focus, your feelings shifting quickly, appearing very dramatically – as if performing earlier than an viewers – with exaggerated feelings and expressions but showing to lack sincerity, and continually in search of reassurance or approval, in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.
In the end, this dysfunction is a severe one, and the label shouldn’t be used except a psychological well being skilled who has evaluated you and carried out sure diagnostic checks 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 manner.
A well being care skilled may additionally prescribe medicine to deal with the despair and nervousness that usually include this dysfunction, in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s good that persons are studying about this psychological time period, nevertheless it’s essential to keep away from making an armchair analysis,” Behr says. “We additionally should 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 calmly.”