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.
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