Apparently Jerry Sandusky's defense attorneys have gotten approval to use those revolting "love letters" the former assistant coach allegedly wrote to one of his victims as evidence of "histrionic personality disorder." Well, I guess pleading insanity is nothing new. But is someone with histrionic personality disorder technically insane? Does Sandusky really have it? And hey, since we're asking questions, what exactly IS histrionic personality disorder?
Well, according to the National Library of Medicine, histrionic personality disorder is a condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves. Causes are unknown, but the disorder typically develops in early adulthood. Okay, plausible so far. Now let's see if the following list of symptoms describes Jerry Sandusky:
Acting or looking overly seductive
Being easily influenced by other people
Being overly concerned with their looks
Being overly dramatic and emotional
Being overly sensitive to criticism or disapproval
Believing that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
Blaming failure or disappointment on others
Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
Having a low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification
Needing to be the center of attention
Quickly changing emotions, which may seem shallow to others
Hmmm. That list of symptoms definitely describes Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, but Jerry Sandusky? I don't know the man personally, but considering "pedophilia" isn't on that list (or even "inappropriate sexual behavior"), I'm having a hard time making the connection between the ex-coach and histrionic personality disorder. Which, by the way, might not be a terribly strong defense even if Sandusky was diagnosed: When the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is released, the condition might not even be recognized as an actual mental disorder.
Check out the videos below to learn more about histrionic personality disorder and the Jerry Sandusky defense and see what you think ...
Is histrionic personality disorder a valid defense for Jerry Sandusky?