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Histrionic Personality Disorder

Update on Borderline Personality Disorder

A discussion on whether personality disorders can be understood as one dimensional continuum or as overlapping diagnostic categories. ©WaveBreakMedia/Shutterstock

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Down through the decades, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have been portrayed in many Hollywood films and in television sitcoms but not with the suggestion that they are dangerous methods.

What is often forgotten, however, is that things such as client-centered therapy, “mental hygiene,” and “self-help” were also responses to another phenomenon—the charismatic physician.

We both have the brilliant everlasting dumb luck to be fueled with oxytocin, the urge to eat and to bond. St Francis called his body “brother ass.” I call mine “brother dog.”

I just attended the 40th year reunion of my medical school class at Yale. As is common at these 5-year reunions, we compare our careers and the progress of medicine, although this time more of the focus seemed to be on our personal lives and our new Medicare cards.

Psychiatry is a wonderful specialty. We have highly effective medication and psychotherapy tools. Forty years of accumulated clinical research have given us a pretty clear idea of optimal treatment guidelines. With an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment, most of our patients benefit greatly and many recover completely.

I was asked three interesting questions by a psychologist with 15 years experience evaluating sexually violent predators. She has testified often--both for the prosecution and for the defense in the hearings that determine the legitimacy of involuntary psychiatric commitment under SVP statutes.

As I came closer, I could see Mr P more clearly. He was in his own world, wearing a Walkman with earphones on. I puzzled for a brief moment over this—was this to shut out attempts to talk him down? I could also see more clearly the rivulets of blood dripping from the incisions on his wrists to the concrete ground below.


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