Dependent Personality Disorder

People with dependent personality will be feeling helpless most of the time and they are lot more submissive in nature. They always seek care and attention from others and are unable to make any decisions on their own. Even for completing everyday’s task they seek advice/assurance from others.

Symptoms :

Individuals with DPD will be emotionally dependent on others and will make every possible effort to gratify others. They exhibit clinging behavior and always need people for advice. Some of the other traits of dependant personality are:-

  •  Unable to make decisions even on trivial matters without getting advice from others
  •  They avoid tasks that involve independent functions and they seldom hold responsible posts
  •  They will have intense fear of abandonment and helplessness in ending any relationship
  •  They are highly sensitive to criticism and cannot take things easy
  •  They lack self confidence and they will not disagree with others even if they know they are wrong
  •  They feel uncomfortable when left alone
  •  Willing to tolerate abuse and even mistreatment from others in the fear of getting abandoned
  •  Will let others to take responsibility even for major decisions that concerns them

People with DPD will have high rate of separation anxiety. They grow up with intense fear, helplessness which compels them to be submissive with others. They feel insecure when left alone or separated and are always anxious about this kind of imaginative fear. Owing to this irrational fear they become overly dependent and submissive to others which would cause serious impairment in relationships at school or workplace. They do not possess certain essential social skills like independence and assertiveness.

Separation anxiety and dependent nature are acceptable behavior in childhood and even during adolescence. But the same behavior continues in adulthood it becomes unacceptable by the society. Most of the adolescents will overgrow this sort of anxiety when they become adult. However there are few people who cannot overcome this feeling and become overly dependent on others. They think that they are unable to handle any task or conflict. Basically they don’t trust their own talents.

Complications :

People with DPD may develop depression and may develop addiction for alcohol or drugs. They are also susceptible to sexual abuse or emotional abuse by others who take advantage of their personality. In some cases they go far extent of undergoing abuse to maintain a relationship.

Causes :

The real cause of dependent personality disorder is not known. It can be due to biological, developmental or psychological factors. If the parents are overly protecting the child, he may grow up to become a dependent personality.

Tests :

There is no lab test or blood test available for determining this disorder. The doctor will refer the case to psychologists who will devise specific interview techniques and assessment tools for finding out the type of personality of the person.

Treatment :

Individuals with DPD will not seek treatment on their own. Some people will go to a psychiatrist if things become worse in their life and they are preoccupied with the thoughts of fear of losing relationships. Often people with this disorder may develop anxiety/depression disorder. Sometime, the concerned person will have significant problem at his office due to his irrational fear of losing relationships with his superiors.

The therapist will use psychotherapy and cognitive therapy for bringing the desired changes in behavior and to induce self esteem in the minds of the person concerned. Cognitive therapy focuses on the belief system to bring out the hidden talents in them and in resolving the conflicts. Improvements in their behavior can be seen in the long run. Psychologists will use different strategies to boost their self confidence level and to induce assertiveness in them. To reduce the depression/anxiety problem medications are given.

Prevention :

There is no way to prevent DPD since the root cause of the problem arises from one’s thinking based on irrational fear.

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