Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Aug 29 16:26:38 PDT 2000

Dace wrote:

>One of the most damaging effects of the dominant school of psychiatry is the
>use of the loaded word "histrionic" to label this sort of speech. It's not
>even about hysteria. It's about attracting attention.

What's wrong with histrionic? I find this sort of thing, from DSM-IV, kind of obsessive but also kind of interesting (maybe because I'm obsessive):

>[Histrionic personality disorder]
>Differential Diagnosis
>Other Personality Disorders may be confused with Histrionic
>Personality Disorder because they have certain features in common.
>it is, therefore, important to distinguish among these disorders
>based on differences in their characteristic features. However, if
>an individual has personality features that meet criteria for one or
>more Personality Disorders in addition to Histrionic Personality
>Disorder, all can be diagnosed. Although Borderline Personality
>Disorder can also be characterized by attention seeking,
>manipulative behavior, and rapidly shifting emotions, it is
>distinguished by self-destructiveness, angry disruptions in close
>relationships, and chronic feelings of deep emptiness and identity
>disturbance. Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder and
>Histrionic Personality Disorder share a tendency to be impulsive,
>superficial, excitement seeking, reckless, seductive, and
>manipulative, but persons with Histrionic Personality Disorder tend
>to be more exaggerated in their emotions and do not
>characteristically engage in antisocial behaviors. Individuals with
>Histrionic Personality Disorder are manipulative to gain nurturance,
>whereas those with Antisocial Personality Disorder are manipulative
>to gain profit, power, or some other material gratification.
>Although individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder also
>crave attention from others, they usually want praise for their
>"superiority," whereas the individual with Histrionic Personality
>Disorder is willing to be viewed as fragile or dependent if this is
>instrumental in getting attention. Individuals with Narcissistic
>Personality Disorder may exaggerate the intimacy of their
>relationships with other people, but they are more apt to emphasize
>the "VIP" status or wealth of their friends. In Dependent
>Personality Disorder, the person is excessively dependent on others
>for praise and guidance, but is without the flamboyant, exaggerated,
>emotional features of Histrionic Personality Disorder.
>Histrionic Personality Disorder Must be distinguished from
>Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition, in which the
>traits emerge due to the direct effects of a general medical
>condition on the central nervous system. It must also be
>distinguished from symptoms that may develop in association with
>chronic substance use (e.g., Cocaine-Related Disorder Not Otherwise
>Many individuals may display histrionic personality traits. Only
>when these traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and persisting and
>cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do
>they constitute Histrionic Personality Disorder.

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