What is dependent personality disorder?
Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is a disorder that is characterized by a pervasive and excessive desire to be taken care. People with dependent personality disorder are submissive and afraid of separation. They feel like they can’t live or survive without other people’s help.
People with dependent personality disorder find difficulty in making decisions. They always seek advice and assurance from others. In addition, people with dependent personality would always stay in the background. They can’t stand being a leader. Instead, they prefer being submissive to others and let others lead.
Adults with dependent personality disorder are dependent either on their parents or on their spouse. They can’t decide in many areas of their lives including choosing a job, or what decision to be made in a certain situation. Adolescents with dependent personality are like adults. They also can’t decide on their own even in choosing what to wear, what college degree to be taken, and whom to befriend.
Because people with dependent personality are excessively dependent, they often have difficulties in asserting their ideas. As a result, they would agree others even they feel wrong about it. They do so because they are afraid that people they look for guidance and help will vanish.
People with dependent personality disorder are having difficulty pursuing any goal alone. Their lack of self-confidence impairs their ability to carry a task done. But they trust others. As a result, they always believe that others are better than them. Thus, following other people is better than finishing something alone.
Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states that a dependent personality is a pervasive and excessive pattern of dependence on others. Such behavior leads to being submissive and being afraid of separation. Symptoms of this disorder usually evident during early adulthood. The following are some of the symptoms:
- Has difficulty in making personal decisions
- Always seek advice and assurance from others
- Can’t perform a task without a help from others
- Has difficulty in asserting own views and feelings
- Lack of self-confidence
- Feels helpless and uncomfortable when alone
- Finds relationship as a source of care and support
- Can’t live or survive without other people
Dependent behaviors may vary across cultures and age groups. Thus, cultural norm and age must be considered when assessing DPD. Dependent personality can only be labeled when dependent behaviors are beyond the cultural norms.
The dependent personality disorder is more often found among females. While other studies found same prevalence between males and females.
Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder
Experts believe that there is no single factor that causes dependent personality. However, they agreed that it is a combination of genetics, social, and environmental factors. They called it the biopsychosocial.
Treatment of Dependent Personality Disorder
The most helpful treatment of DPD is a long-term psychotherapy. The purpose of this therapy is to help a person with a dependent personality to gain self-confidence and healthy relationship. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a person with DPD will be trained to develop assertiveness. This treatment process will help a person with DPD to gain positive evaluation of his/her true potential.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.