Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)

What is Dependent Personality Disorder?

Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders which affects both women and men in equal numbers. The first signs of dependent personality disorder appear during early adolescence or later in adulthood. Individuals with dependent personality disorder exhibit behavior that is submissive and also display an inordinate desire to be taken care of that makes them clingy and afraid of separation.

Those diagnosed with dependent personality disorder don’t believe that they can manage to get through life without the assistance of others and constantly seek reassurance and help when making even minor decisions. These individuals rely heavily on parents or spouses when it comes to where they will live, what type of work they will do, and even whom they will socialize with. The need for approval from others is so intense that those suffering from dependent personality disorder will refrain from engaging in arguments with others. The cause of dependent personality disorder is unknown and is believed to affect 0.6% of the general population.

What are the Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder?

A great deal of difficulty in making simple decisions, problems beginning activities without the assistance of others, needs others to take control of major areas of their lives, great difficulty disagreeing with others for fear of rejection, the person doesn’t feel comfortable being by themselves, and suffers from an ordinate fear that they will be abandoned and left to care for themselves.

Dependent Personality Causes

The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Medical professionals believe the cause is most likely both development and biological factors. Some researchers state that overprotective or authoritarian parents can make their kids experience the symptoms of DPD.

DPD tends to appear in early adulthood. Kids who experienced separation anxiety disorder are usually at risk of developing a dependent personality disorder. Women tend to experience this mental condition more than men. Some risk factors that contribute to DPD include a history of neglect, abusive upbringing, history of anxiety disorders, and abusive relationship.

According to some psychodynamic theories, people with dependent personality usually adopt defensive traits against unconscious hostility. The problem is that these defenses tend not to be useful, effective or adaptive. Patients tend to ward off their emotions and would easily submit to others as a way to avoid showing their anger. Over time, this grows into disorder.

How is Dependent Personality Disorder Treated?

Long-term psychotherapy is the standard form of treatment. Medication is not considered appropriate in the treatment of dependent personality disorder. Therapy is designed to help people with dependent personality disorder improve their interpersonal skills and manage their stress and distress. The goal of therapy is to help the individual to become self-sufficient.

Dependent Personality Disorder Prevention

One recommended approach for preventing dependent personality disorder is helping kids to curb anxiety disorders. This is particularly important in families with a history of anxiety. Parents should also not expose children to situations or treatments that can affect their general behavior, emotions, and traits.

Those who are in relationships that foster dependent behavior should try to control them before they worsen. Changing your behaviors and beliefs is one of the best ways to prevent PSD: be open to discussing personal problems and avoid unrealistic demands. Trying to make your own decisions without any fear or help also can contribute to boosting your confidence and independence.