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Dependent Personality Disorder

What is Dependent Personality Disorder?

Such disorder is considered to be part of the “Cluster C Personality Disorders,” in which an individual has an extreme reliance on other people to meet their emotion and/or physical needs. Such individuals often feel the need to be taken care of, which makes them have a submissive and clingy behavior. In turn, they often have a hard time separating from individuals and fear separation.

What are the symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder?

  • An individual has a hard time making decisions (i.e. what shirt to wear)
  • Individuals do not trust their own ability to make their decisions
  • Individuals often needs the reassurance of others when making decisions
  • Extreme passivity
  • Individuals have a hard time contradicting others
  • Individuals often avoid personal responsibility (depend on spouse or parents to make decisions)
  • An individual may avoid being alone
  • Tend to have a hard time meeting the ordinary demands of life
  • An individual becomes easily hurt by disapproval or criticism
  • The individual often tolerates being mistreated or abused by others
  • Individuals do not tend to take the initiative (i.e. on projects)
  • Individuals have an intense fear of abandonment
    • When a relationship ends, the individual may feel useless, devastated, and may even move on to a new relationship fairly quickly

What can Dependent Personality Disorder lead to?

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Susceptibility to physical, emotional, and physical abuse

What causes Dependent Personality Disorder?

Although the cause is not known, it is believed that individuals who may have experienced a chronic physical illness or separation anxiety disorder, are at higher risk. Also, if individuals experience an authoritarian or overprotective parenting style, their risks is also higher. Furthermore, individuals tend to develop such disorder during your adulthood or adulthood.

How is Dependent Personality Disorder treated?

  • Psychotherapy
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
      • Focuses on replacing the maladaptive thinking and allowing an individual to recognize their irrational thoughts
    • Medication
      • Antidepressants
      • Sedatives
      • Tranquilizers

If I have Dependent Personality Disorder, what can I do to help myself? How can I help someone that I know?

  • Create a list of things you fear doing and then categorize the fear (i.e. fear at home, work, or school). After categorizing them, write down different things you can do to tackle the fear and find a few exercises that will help you do so.
  • Seek professional help
  • Educate yourself on the subject and educate those around you
  • Treat yourself, do things that you want to do
  • Focus on the people around you
  • Present your concerns as an opinion
  • Use “I” statements when talking to an individual with Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Use concrete examples when trying to help them out
  • Follow up with your loved one
  • Set limits on your responsibilities