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June 11th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

What is histrionic personality disorder?

The trial of  Jerry Sandusky has begun. Prosecutors accuse the former Penn State assistant football coach of abusing at least 10 boys, allegations that have become widely known.

What may be less familiar is a mental illness his lawyers are connecting with him: Histrionic personality disorder.  The defense attorneys say they intend to offer expert testimony from a psychologist who "will explain that the words, tones, requests and statements made in the letters are consistent with a person who suffers from a Histrionic Personality Disorder," according to documents.

Histrionic personality disorder is part of a class of conditions called dramatic personality disorders, which are marked by unstable emotions and distorted self-images, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

For these people, self-esteem doesn't come from true feelings of self worth, but rather from the approval from other people, and those suffering from this disorder will often engage in dramatic or inappropriate behaviors to call attention to themselves.

“People develop this disorder because they have a need to be appreciated and to feel valued and worthwhile and special,” said Nadine Kaslow, psychologist at Emory University School of Medicine, who has not treated Sandusky.

About 2% to 3% of the general population is thought to have histrionic personality disorder, she said.  "We all have traits that resemble this, but it becomes a problem when all of the symptoms are combined in a way that makes functioning difficult."

Inflicting sexual abuse is not a commonly recognized trait of this condition, but sexually-provocative behavior is, she adds.

People with this personality disorder may also change emotions rapidly, overly dwell on physical appearance, and take criticism or disapproval sensitively. They are easily influenced by others and make rash decisions, according to the Cleveland Clinic.  Rarely showing concern for others, they often find it challenging to maintain relationships.  People with histrionic personality disorder may even threaten or attempt suicide for the sake of getting attention.

No one knows what causes this disorder, but experts say it's probably a combination of nature and nurture.  The personality disorder can run in families, suggesting a genetic connection, but children may also be influenced by their parents in ways that would lead kids to crave attention or be confused about how to get parents' approval.

The standard treatment for this disorder is a type of counseling called psychotherapy, in which a mental health professional helps the person delve into what's causing their thoughts and behaviors, and figure out how to create more positive relationships. Depression and anxiety may be issues for some patients, and may be treated with medications.  But generally this personality disorder has not received a lot of attention in terms of evidence-based treatments, Kaslow said.

It's important to seek help if you believe you have symptoms of histrionic personality disorder, especially if it's causing trouble in your romantic or professional life.


soundoff (418 Responses)
  1. JoJo

    Somebody posted that the disorder was invented by "liberals". When was it decided that everything bad is attributable to liberal thinking and everything good is related to conservative thinking. Have people lost their minds? Why must every discussion become a politicized.

    June 13, 2012 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • midwestmatt

      Because the conservatives see everything through a political lens.

      Never mind that more than one personality disorder can be seen on brain scans (showing abnormal brain activity) and that can't be faked.

      I hope all intolerant conservatives find themselves with someone they love who as a personality disorder. It's nothing to laugh about as I have someone close to me with one and it's the most difficult thing I've ever faced.

      June 13, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • sayitstr8r

      LET'S GET THIS CLEARED UP RIGHT NOW:

      HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER leads one to be a pain in the neck at dinner parties or in restaurants. Sometimes on a bus or subway – or, in the best case scenario – IT MAKES ONE BECOME AN ACTOR – but to say that it is responsible for Sandusky's predatorial action is RIDICULOUS. Especially since his actions were done OUT of the public eys on purpose. No. This is a serial predator, child abuser, sex offender, criminal – not someone who seeks attention. He sought NO attention in these situation. He sought what he got: POWER OVER INNOCENT CHILDREN. off to jail, big fella, where you'll get plenty of attention.

      June 14, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • And

      To sayitstr8r : Yes! Exactly!

      June 14, 2012 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • ORLY?

      Actually, If you want the history of the condition, it was primarily used in the 1800's to describe women only, when they were being, as men saw it, womanly. They figured that the way women seemed to get overemotional and go to pieces over nothing must mean something is wrong and noted that some women had more of a tendency toward "histrionics" than others. In later decades it was seen as an embarrassing reminder that psychology is often a very unscientific science and people were rarely diagnosed with it.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • Ari

      Because that is how fascism works. Everything from religion to sex to education to occupations is sent through their fascist prism to be viewed.

      June 15, 2012 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  2. zisee

    A way to not be found guilty.

    June 13, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. pst

    Oh come off it! The kinds of "psychological disorders" are nothing more diversions from the truth. According to the Psychologists who came up with this theory everyone would have a "diagnosis" , leaving no one to be held responsible for their own behavior. Shame on them! The attorney's buy them and tell them what good ole Jerry needs & WAH-LAH, an amazing, perfect mental disorder! Problem is, everyone has it!! Who doesn't want approval from others? That's what celebrities, beauty queens & politicians all want really badly!! We all do! How do attorneys live with themselves? What he has is p-e-d-o-p-h-e-l-i-a, definitely a warped mind, that's what makes him dangerous! He's a self-centered SOB who "loves" boys because boys turn him on! If a psychiatrist spoke to his sons individually I'm sure they would eventually remember some of their own situations with their daddy, right now it's just too disgusting to ponder such truths.
    Jerry Sandusky has the same mantra as the men in NAMBLA or MANBLA or whatever those sicko perverts call themselves. They think they 'love' boys just so much and that the boys love them back. YUCK!! Selfish, disgusting predators, nothing else! I'd call them pigs but that would be insulting to swine everywhere!

    June 13, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom

      Amen.

      June 13, 2012 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • KLL

      Well said, very well said!!

      June 13, 2012 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • midwestmatt

      Completely wrong. More than one personality disorder shows you on brain scans with abnormal electrical activity and that can't be faked. Get a clue, you ill-informed neanderthal.

      It's people like you that would lock up half the planet because they don't conform to your 6th grade level of intellect.

      June 13, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      While the attorney's appear to be using a personality disorder as an excuse/defense, most mental health professionals would not support such a stance. Personally I am outraged that the attorneys are using this ploy. However, that should not cast the entire mental health profession in a bad light. Mental illness may help explain or understand some behaviors, it does not reduce people's responsibility for their behavior. He may have a personality disorder, but it no more excuses his behavior than being diabetic, or having dandruff. In over 30 years in the mental health field I have seen exactly two cases where an individuals mental illness caused behavior that would be considered criminal and where that individual's responsibility for the criminal behavior could realistically be reduced. This appears to me to be a desparate attempt on the part of a defense team that sees no traditional defense being effective.

      June 13, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
    • bubs

      pts... You are totally awesome! Couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • William G. Gruff

      It's "voila", genius.

      June 15, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse |
  4. Netra

    HPD is a diagnosis not a defense. Go to jail, get treatment in jail but never be allowed to walk the streets again to hurt other children.

    June 13, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Big Boox

    He no more has "histrionic personality disorder' than I have a million bucks. Jerry's problem is he suffers from being a warped, selfish, narcissistic, low-life who thinks it's OK to rape teenage boys at his whim...He should be publicly hung in my mind.
    What is more offensive is the damage he has caused to untold numbers of young men and the people who thought this little episode will go away. And for PENN STATE, what a mess they have now...

    June 13, 2012 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gerbear

      Right on! Hang him!

      June 13, 2012 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Big Box, I totally agree. His defense is grasping at straws because they know they have NO defense. The jury was crying when the abused boys were testifying on the stand. This means they believe them. Sandusky is going down and you know what happens to child molesters in prison!? Jerry, I hope you ready for hell...it's about to get A LOT worse, you piece of #$%t!

      June 14, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  6. AbleWitness

    Historically, histrionic personality disorder has often led to a really bad case of lead poisoning.

    June 13, 2012 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. dkhhuey

    Yes – the reason he was molesting, raping, and sexually abusing kids was because of low esteem. Well, he can work on that in prison while Bubba and his big buddies are molesting, raping, and sexually abusing him!!!

    June 13, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cathy

      My thoughts exactly! A Pedophile is a Pedophile! There IS NO EXCUSE!

      June 15, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  8. johanna

    histrionic disorder = hollywood

    June 13, 2012 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Cindy McClure

    I'm glad I read about histrionic personality disorder. Now I can tell my kids what is wrong with me, them & everyone else who ever gets upset about anything! This is ridiculous! The man is a monster. I hope he rots along with all of the other gutless sickos who didn't have the guts to turn him in! Did the entire Penn State athletic & security staffs also suffer from whatever? They all need to be thrown in jail.

    June 13, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. silentseeker1

    It's so funny how they try to put a label on this kind of crap. This man preyed on innocent young children and they want to label this pervert with a personality disorder. Go figure!

    June 13, 2012 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim in PA

      Of course he has a disorder. He likes buggering little kids. Let's all agree to that, and then agree that it doesn't excuse him for his crimes.

      June 13, 2012 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
  11. silentseeker1

    Hang him by his balls

    June 13, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. elpfeifer

    Psychiatry is a complete fraud. They just make up things to describe behavior, and then they put people on very dangerous medications. They work with the police to discredit people via false diagnoses, too.

    June 13, 2012 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      I often see idiotic posts, but yours is the most stupid, idiotic post I've ever seen. Do everybody a favor and shut up.

      June 13, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • DocCutty

      What Bob said.

      June 14, 2012 at 01:19 | Report abuse |
  13. Jim in PA

    None of which should stand in the way of his well-deserved castration.

    June 13, 2012 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anthony

      Jim in PA...from your lips to (insert your own deity or legal authority here) ears...

      June 14, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
  14. tellitlikeitis

    If they are blaming HPD for Sandirtsky's actions, why not blame HPD for my hemorrhoids?

    June 13, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bob

    He may or may not have a personality disorder. The lawyers may try to draw a connection between that disorder and the allegations of sexually deviant and criminal behavior. However, this article, and most mental health professionals, would be adamant in stating that personality disorders (or other mental health disorders) do not cause this type of sexual acting out. As I mental health professional I hate attempts to use mental illness as an excuse for criminal behavior. He may be mentally ill, I cannot say as I've not conducted a clinical interview. However, even if he is, he is still 100% responsible for his behavior.

    June 13, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WildCat

      I agree, furthermore if the defense wants to use multiple personalities as a possible excuse, i would hope that the jury finds him guilty of multiple personalities and then be sentence to a different prison for a minimum of 15 years for each of the personalities found in his creepy brain.

      June 13, 2012 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
  16. Rob Lanken

    If what Sandusky is alleged to have done is proven and it certainly looks highly likely now that it will be so done, then I can think of nothing finer for his personality disorder than to have a razor blade and ice pick studded baseball bat shoved up his rectum until he dies. Other than that, I wish him nothing but the best.

    June 13, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. elizabeth

    Since this "disorder" does not affect his ability to distinguish right from wrong it would seem the relevance is rather attenuated at best. It's not like Sandusky is pleading insanity. He isn't even saying he has diminished mental capacity. He's saying he did not do it – period. If he has a histrionic personality disorder, so be it. What does that have to do with, "I did not have sex with those boys" defense? Is he saying they only THOUGHT he was having sex with them, but he was really just seeking approval? That would have to be the worst possible defense ever! LOL.

    June 13, 2012 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dave

    Q: What is histrionic personality disorder?
    A = h0m0s3xuality

    June 13, 2012 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DocCutty

      What a dopey post. Seriously, you see no diff between being gay and being a pedophile? You're nuts.

      June 14, 2012 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
  19. DrC

    Hahahahahahaha!

    June 14, 2012 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. MARK JESSUP

    this guy has had to have killed children too i just cant see how he hasnt

    June 14, 2012 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. res

    We cannot protect this evil possesed man from the natural consequences of rape which is prison for decades.

    June 14, 2012 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Peggy

    This is the most ridiculious thing I have ever heard! I know many people that have a lack of self-esteem that don't act like this.

    June 14, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Alice

    Of course he has a personality disorder. Normal people do not rape or molest children. He is still guilty. Next he'll say he ate too many Twinkies (remember the Twinkie defense used by Dan White, who killed Harvey Milk? He was all sugared up so he didn't know what he was doing.)

    June 14, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. LJ

    Well obviously he did everything he's being accused of doing, since his attorneys are trying to make excuses for it.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BoldGeorge

    So we should let him off the hook for this so-called concocted disorder??? So, he's the victim in all this??? His mommy didn't feed him the right amount of breast milk??? So, should we retry all the convicted pedophiles and see if this is the same thing they had??? Maybe it's not so much their fault???????

    We should just put a ban on administering punishment, shouldn't we?

    June 14, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
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      September 14, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
  26. Shakespeare was right

    Can you say, "Twinkie defense"?

    June 14, 2012 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chris K

    This is absurd for several reasons a.) What is the purpose of this sort of 'writing'? It certainly cannot be called 'journalism' and even if it were an 'opinion piece', it would be both unethical and completely ridiculous on its face. The defense (a lawyer who knows nothing about proper diagnosis) says that Sandusky has Histrionic Personality Disorder and they find (which is also not confirmed) a psychologist to confirm this diagnosis. Do you know the other diagnosis he may have been given? Are you aware of the complete psychological evaluation? The history of the psychologist?

    Your Inference and allusion is, again, irresponsible at best. Lazy writing as you have done in this article only serves to inflame, to anger, and to tarnish (via some weird association) a profession that does incredible good for people often with little recognition for the efforts undertaken to be good at it.

    If you had done your research, you might also add that the particular disorder you mention is no longer going to be a part of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. If you had done your research, you would find there is no correlation between Histrionic Personality Disorder and the crimes Sandusky is accused of committing. If you are aware of EVEN one peer-reviewed published study that finds a + correlation I would like it posted here. I am an expert in the field and you clearly are not.

    In fact, you trivialize the horrific crimes via even articulating "Inflicting sexual abuse is not a commonly recognized trait of this condition, but sexually-provocative behavior is". A tacit inference that is appalling.

    Lastly, I do not care if Sandusky said he was possessed by space aliens, in our judicial system he is allowed, by law, to launch a vigorous defense. That does not mean, for one moment, that anything the defense might say is factually accurate nor the psychological characteristics they put-forth regarding their client is valid.

    Given such writing, perhaps the author who penned this trash (to be kind), could perhaps hold up a mirror and provide her own self-assessment....

    June 14, 2012 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LearnSomething

      Thank you for the excellent post. I hope it is read.

      June 15, 2012 at 08:56 | Report abuse |
  28. jaguar6cy

    He has a "condition'. It is clearly time for all good liberals and progressives to come to this poor man's defense. Watch.

    June 14, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • swingstater

      No. We'll leave it to the CONservatives to tolerate criminals in their own party.

      Take Rick Scott... (please!)

      June 14, 2012 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
  29. kilovoltaire

    Assbugger syndrome, if you ask me.

    June 14, 2012 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. swingstater

    So his lawyers think this is the best defense they've got, huh? Pretty lame.

    The guy's problem is that he is an unrestrained pedophile. He's not alone in that and everyone who does that needs to go to jail and stay away from children for the rest of their lives. It's not very complicated.

    June 14, 2012 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. sunlight99

    I agree that he has a mental issue but it is the fact that he is a pedophile and a predator. Personally, I am at a loss as to what to do with him. He needs to be locked up/kept away from children and to pay for his crimes, however, I am not really thrilled with my tax payer dollars going toward his care and housing for the rest of his life.

    June 14, 2012 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Kim C Ohio

    Why is it when white folks do something crazy, it is a disorder??? Let Sandusky be an African American man, there would be no question that he is a pervert. He needs to be given life in prison. If he gets away with this our children will continue to be victims. Also his wife is disgusting to me. She has to know! If my husband was in the bathroom with one little boy, I would go the hell off and has his behind arrested.

    June 14, 2012 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LearnSomething

      Why is it that you are so racist? Stop the insanity already.

      June 15, 2012 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
  33. sunlight99

    @ Kim C Ohio

    There is no question (except in his defense attorney's mind and who knows what he really thinks) that Sandusky is a pervert (Caucasian, Black, Asian, Hispanic, or secret Area 51 Space Alien it does not matter). I hope he does not get away with this and I agree that his wife should have known (one boy if I recall said he screamed in the house).

    I think he got by with this for so long because of his football connections - Sports Celebrity. If he had been an average guy he would have been behind bars long ago.

    June 14, 2012 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Dan

    I don't care what you call it. He's on trial for molesting boys. Whats the excuse ?

    June 14, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Drachenstat

    Now we know what it is with Republicans, their roots are tangled, they forgot their past as they surged ahead with lots of Koch money.

    June 15, 2012 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nick Westman

    I know histrionic personality disorder. It's real and it was not invented by "liberals". I've known several people who had it and none of them ever so much as lifted a hand against a child. They might stage a "fainting spell" or "heart trouble" or a "sick headache" at times when things didn't go their way, is all.

    The $hrinks on this child molester's team could have come up with a much better phony diagnosis-excuse than this. This is an insult to people who really have histrionic personality disorder. They could be turned off from seeking help for it because they don't want someone to think they're like this man. There is no mental disease that could excuse HIS CHOICES. He is a CHILD MOLESTER and he ought to be in jail. Simple as that.

    June 15, 2012 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. eve

    Don't know if any of the other respondents noted this: Histornic Personality Disorder was removed from the manual used by mental health professionals for diagnostic purposes. It was listed in DSM4, but is not in the newest DSM 5. A mental health professional told me that is was most likely due to the fact that people with this disorder tend not to come in for help.

    June 15, 2012 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rh

    Uh, boo hoo? So the poor guy KNOWS that it is wrong to molest and rape children, and his personality allows him to do it, and smile yet?

    This is so not pertinent. Another case of spending lots and lots of (Penn State) money on lawyers and getting set free.

    June 15, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sabrina

    Histrionic personality disorder? Oh Puh-freaking-leez! Sandusky's "disorder" is that he is a sexual degerate i.e. a PERVERT! Lock him up and throw away the key I say or better still CASTRATE his sorry butt!

    June 15, 2012 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelly

      Castration is a good idea. It does not, however, have anything to do with the butt.

      June 15, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  40. Clyde

    Dramatic personality disorders are associated with FALSE RAPE ACCUSERS.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Matt in Virginia

    "People develop this disorder because they have a need to be appreciated and to feel valued and worthwhile and special."

    It amazes me that, no matter what a person does criminally, there will always be a defense attorney and a psychiatric "expert" willing to come up with some excuse. But raping almost a dozen young boys because of "a need to be appreciated" is the lowest I've seen yet. When an attorney brings up a personality disorder, the attorney has no real case.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jimijoni

      That's because these so called experts have made a healthy living taking the stand with their professional opinions.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
  42. Matt in Virginia

    Histrionic personality disorder is a fancy term for: A person who is very manipulative in getting what they want. That's really all it is. I think if Sandusky has any personality disorder, it's anti-social personality (the fancy term for sociopath). Aside from the horrific sexual acts themselves, there is no way anyone with a conscious could sit in court all day watching his former victims emotional and graphic testimony. If Sandusky had any soul, he would have killed himself over the shame of what he did coming out publicly, or at least admitted the crimes to avoid the trial. But he doesn't seem to care at all.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. HDR

    For every "expert" psychologist willing to swear up and down that Sandusky has this disorder, there's another ready to swear up and down that he doesn't. I'm not ready to condemn the entire field of psychiatry. There are quacks, but there are also professionals truly committed to helping people. Having said that, I think it is criminal that Sandusky's defense attorneys would stoop to this sort of defense to try to help him escape culpability for his crimes. Everyone deserves a defense under our legal system, but come on! This is sheer sophistry. How they can live with themselves is beyond me. And Sandusky himself... There are no words. He will probably end up in a country club. But he deserves to go into the general population of one of our vilest prisons, where he will endure the same sort of depravity he subjected those young boys to. The man doesn't even display remorse for the reprehensible acts he has committed. He's sick, no doubt, and perhaps he does need psychiatric treatment, but he also deserves to be punished for his crimes.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. JakeF

    I could care less what this person allegedly suffers from. Perhaps the psychologists would like to tell us about sociopaths now?

    June 15, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Donna

    Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is not a gray area! Sandusky is being charged with raping underprivileged boys who could be easily confused and coerced by an influential local sports figure. How could so many "responsible" people just shrug it off? Easily! These were kids who didn't matter, weren't from their social class, and so the people in charge had no motivation to do their jobs. Now I say, claw back bonuses, demote them, hit their pensions, put big black marks in their public records and fire them!

    June 15, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jimijoni

    He should have plenty of opportunity to get treated for this condition in prison. I've heard child molestors in general population get lpts of attention, especially when the lights go out.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Maybe he'll learn to play "prison football", where you go into the game a tight end, but come out a wide receiver...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
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  47. Bill

    This condition is vernacularly known as being an "attention wh*re".

    It does not explain or justify this cretin raping little boys.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Rusty Shakelford

    I actually have HPD and know many others who have it in some form. We are great at sex. Really great. Among the best lovers on the planet. You'd be lucky to hook up with one of us, but do yourself a favor and DO NOT MARRY US or GET CLOSE TO US. We are emotional hurricanes that will destroy your life, and I mean that in the non-dramatic sense.

    Oh and it has nothing to do with morality or knowing right from wrong or anything Sandusky did. HPD usually diminishes with age anyway. Thankfully, I've kept the good and eliminated most of the bad parts of this condition.

    June 15, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ari

      There is no good in it, only delusion.

      June 15, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Rusty Shakelford

      Admittedly, I've burned bridges and the forests that connect them and left a lot of people hurting in my wake, but during the same time, I've led and inspired others to see how grand and amazing the world can be. Nowadays, I practice mindfulness and am able to better self-regulate. Before, I would have railed on you and called you names because I wouldn't know how to handle simple criticism (a classic symptom of HPD). I agree that for many, the delusion persists. I believe I am lucky to have overcome most of the bad parts of the condition.

      June 15, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
  49. wordmacher

    Obama is the classic model of this disorder.

    June 15, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rusty Shakelford

      you have a small hot dog

      June 15, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  50. Dave Dean

    A diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder has nothing much to do with competency at the time of the offense(s). People who suffer from this disorder almost invariable know right from wrong, real from unreal and are not described as "mentally ill". This disorder is primarily characterized by excessive emotionality and attention seeking behavior. Histrionic individuals can be charming, seductive and at times, when things don't go their way, act like a victim. I doubt that any serious, licensed mental health professional is going to testify that anyone's unlawful behavior should be excused on this basis of a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder. This disorder can be treated through outpatient counseling, without medications. Psychological counseling is available in most state prisons.

    June 15, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
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      September 13, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.