Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterized as an extreme need to be taken care of, which leads to clinging and submissive behavior and an acute fear of separation or being alone because they strongly believe that they need to be taken care of and cannot be alone.

People with dependent personality disorder build their lives around others and subordinate their own needs and views to keep others connected and involved in their lives. The struggle to get angry with others in the fear of losing their support indicates they have adapted to physical and psychologically abusive relationships. They also struggle to make decisions and prefer others to make them for them. They constantly seek assurance from others because they lack confidence and feel helpless in most situations.

The gender difference is that the disorder is higher in women than in men. Individuals with certain personality traits, such as neuroticism and agreeableness, are more likely to be diagnosed with dependent personality disorder. Dependent personality disorder can co-occur with other disorders like mood disorders and other personality disorders.


  • The individual has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major parts of their life.
  • Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of a fear of losing support or approval.
  • Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on their own.
  • Lack self-confidence in their own judgment or abilities.
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nourishment and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are present.
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for him or her.
  • Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends.
  • Preoccupied with unrealistic expectations set for others.

Causal factors

There are several causal factors covering the natural and nurture aspects.

  • Experiencing abuse and neglect at an early stage of life can increase the risk of developing dependent personality disorder.
  • Individuals who experience abusive relationships have a higher risk of developing DPD.
  • Genetics: There are chances that someone in the family with DPD or other disorders may be more likely to have a dependent personality disorder diagnosis.
  • Cultural or religious practices that emphasize submission to authority.

Dependent Personality Disorder Diagnosis

Personality evolves as a child grows into adulthood. Personality disorder can be difficult to diagnose because many people don’t realize that these behaviors or ways of thinking are a problem. Here are a few signs to know when to seek help:.

  • Difficulty in making daily decisions
  • Needing constant reassurance
  • Lack of confidence
  • Going to great lengths to get the support of others to fulfill their needs.
  • Feeling uncomfortable or helpless when alone
  • Urgent need for a new relationship with someone who will provide care and support.


  • Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic approach that centers on the psychological underpinnings of emotional distress. You examine unhealthy relationships and recurring behavioral patterns in your life by engaging in self-reflection. This aids in your self-understanding. It can assist you in altering the way you interact with others and your surroundings.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This method of therapy is goal-oriented and structured. You can examine your ideas and feelings more closely with the assistance of a therapist or psychologist. You’ll learn how your thoughts influence your behavior. You can unlearn unfavorable beliefs and habits using CBT. You’ll pick up better thought processes and routines. Examining your issues with assertiveness and anxieties about independence may be a key emphasis of therapy for DPD.
  • Medication: Personality problems are not currently treated with medication. But patients with dependent personality disorder may also take anxiety and depression medications. DPD treatment may be simpler if these illnesses are taken care of.



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