Dependent Personality Disorder

Overview

Dependent personality disorder is a personality disorder in which people are overly dependent on others to meet their emotional and physical needs. People with this disorder have an unhealthy dependence on others characterized by fear of separation and difficulty making their own decisions.Treating personality disorders can be difficult because many people with these illnesses do not recognize that they have a problem. Dependent personality disorder is a lifelong condition that is usually treated with long-term psychotherapy.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The primary symptoms of dependent personality disorder are a fear of being alone, avoidance of personal responsibility, and reliance on others to make everyday or major life decisions. People with this disorder may be overly sensitive to criticism and have difficulty disagreeing with others. They may also be submissive, clingy, and passive in relationships and often view romantic relationships as necessary for survival. Fear of abandonment often causes people with this disorder to do everything they can to stay in a relationship, even if it is harmful to them.People with dependent personality disorder are at risk of depression and substance abuse and are also more likely to experience emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.The symptoms of dependent personality disorder usually appear by early adulthood. To diagnose the disorder, doctors perform a psychological evaluation and ask about the length and severity of symptoms. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a diagnosis of dependent personality disorder requires a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to clinging and submissive behavior and fear of separation.

Causes

The exact cause of dependent personality disorder is not known. Some studies have found that authoritarian and overprotective parenting styles may increase the risk of a child developing dependent personality disorder. Both of these parenting styles discourage in dependency. Dependent personality disorder is one of the most common personality disorders and occurs equally in men and women. Continue reading for Prevention and Treatment Information . . .

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