Dependent Personality Disorder

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Dependent Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an overwhelming need for others to take care of one's emotional and physical needs. It is one of the most frequently diagnosed personality disorders. Individuals with DPD often struggle with helplessness, decision-making, submissiveness, and a lack of self-confidence. They also develop a fear of abandonment, requiring constant reassurance that they will not be left behind. Additionally, they find it challenging to be alone as they heavily rely on others for support and comfort.


What are the symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)

Those who have been diagnosed with DPD become overly dependent on other people and go through lengths to please them. For them doing this will provide them an assurance that they will not be left alone. Oftentimes, people with DPD tend to be passive, needy, and clingy. Aside from these, other common symptoms of DPD include:

  • Difficulty making everyday decisions - They struggle to make everyday decisions without excessive advice and reassurance from others.

  • Excessive need to be taken care of - They go to great lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, even to the point of volunteering for unpleasant tasks. 

  • Difficulty starting projects or tasks - This is primarily due to their lack of confidence in which they believe they cannot do anything on their own. 

  • Fear of being alone or separated from those who provide care - They find it difficulty to be alone or separated from loved ones, often experiencing feelings of helplessness and discomfort.

  • Tolerance of mistreatment and abuse - They endure mistreatment or abuse in relationships because of their fear of being left alone.

  • Preoccupation with fears of being alone - They rely heavily on others when it comes to decision-making which make them unable to care for their own.

  • Difficulty initiating or maintaining relationships - People with DPD requires excessive reassurance or support from their partners or loved ones which others may find too burdensome.

  • Difficulty standing up for oneself - Due to their submissiveness and passiveness, they tend to rely on their partners when it comes to making decisions especially in matters of their relationship. They do not speak out or express themselves for fear that people will leave them.

  • Avoidance of responsibility - This is primarily due to their fear of failure or lack of self-confidence.


What causes DPD?

The exact cause of dependent personality disorder is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Studies have shown that individuals with a history of abuse, neglect, or trauma are at a higher risk of developing DPD. Additionally, a family history of the disorder and overprotective parenting styles may contribute to the development of DPD.

Some of the known risk factors that can contribute to the development of DPD are:

  • Individuals who have an abusive upbringing
  • A person having history or experienced neglect
  • Having overly protective and authoritarain parents
  • Those who used to be in a long-term and abusive relationship
  • People who have family history of personality, anxiety or other related disorders


Are There Treatment for DPD?

The most effective treatment for dependent personality disorder is psychotherapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps individuals with DPD identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. The goal is to help individuals develop self-confidence and independence while reducing their reliance on others.

Another therapy that may be effective is group therapy. Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals can interact with others who have similar struggles. This can help individuals develop social skills and learn to establish healthy relationships.

Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be used in conjunction with therapy to help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Dependent personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an excessive need for others to take care of one's emotional and physical needs. Symptoms include a lack of self-confidence, fear of abandonment, and submissive behavior. The exact cause of DPD is unknown but is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Treatment includes psychotherapy, group therapy, and medications. With proper treatment, individuals with DPD can develop greater self-confidence and independence.

Serin Center experts have been utilizing applied neuroscience to enhance the lives of children, adolescents, adults, families, and executives with effective and innovative therapy.

Experience the power of innovative and effective applied neuroscience therapy for mental and emotional wellness. Visit Serin Center in Phoenix, Arizona. With offices in Peoria and Scottsdale, our experts provide cutting-edge approaches for faster, long-lasting results. Upgrade your life today and contact us to see how we can help your child, teen, or yourself.