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Dependent Personality Disorder
Dependent personality disorder (dpd) is one of a cluster of disorders defined by symptoms of anxiety and fear. The specific, identifying symptoms include:
- being emotionally dependent on others; feeling they can’t take care of themselves
- investing a lot of time and effort in trying to please significant people
- displaying clingy, passive and needy behavior
- avoiding disagreements for fear of losing approval and support
- experiencing separation anxiety and intense fear of abandonment
- finding it hard to be alone
- putting the needs of others before their own
- tolerating mistreatment and abuse for fear of disapproval and abandonment
- being crushed, and feeling helpless, when relationships end – and forming new relationships as soon as possible
- being unable to make even the simplest decision without the input and reassurance of others
- rarely taking the initiative
- avoiding personal responsibility
- avoiding responsible jobs and careers that require independent, autonomous functioning
- being over-sensitivity to criticism
- feeling negative and pessimistic; expecting to disappoint and fail
- having low self esteem and lacking confidence, including a belief that they are unable to care for themselves.
- The cause of disorder is still unclear, and probably includes both a genetic and environmental component. Some researchers have speculated that it could be linked to an authoritarian or overprotective parenting style – which acts as a trigger for a genetic predisposition.
Treatment is usually initially sought for some other problem or concern – such as feeling overwhelmed – so that they can’t cope with life. Also, sufferers will often have a mood disorder so they seek help for depression or anxiety at first.
The normal treatment for this particular disorder is counselling or psychotherapy. However, the emphasis is short term therapy so the person doesn’t form a dependency – and then look to the counsellor to take care of them. Prognosis with support is generally good.