Approximately one million American men and women are suffering from the effects of Dependent Personality Disorder. People with this psychological condition may have struggled with low self-esteem problems for quite some time and may see themselves as lacking the necessary skills needed to live independently. Believing that other people are more intelligent or competent, those with
Dependent Personality Disorder may defer to their loved ones’ opinions or decisions because they have never learned to trust their own.
What is Dependent Personality Disorder?
Dependent Personality Disorder is characterized by a pervasive dependence on other people. Those with this condition have an inability to make decisions or formulate opinions for themselves. This sometimes causes them to remain in abusive situations and may prevent them from moving forward with their lives, even when this would be in their best interest. People with Dependent Personality Disorder usually remain in a state of indecision until the person or persons on whom they depend gives them an opinion about what they should do.
Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder
While not all people with Dependent Personality Disorder exhibit the same symptoms, most many of the following indicators of this problem in common:
- Gets easily upset when others make critical comments
- Shows great reticence about giving a personal opinion or instigating an activity
- Immediately searches for a new romantic partner, even if a breakup has just occurred
- Constantly resorts to submissive behavior to keep the peace
- Accepts abusive behavior in order to hold a relationship together
- Feels completely inadequate when alone and not with someone else
- Considers doing things outside of their comfort zone to garner the approval of others
- Detests being alone at any time
- Refuses to make any decision without seeking out the opinions of others
- Takes an extraordinary amount of time to make simple choices
- Rarely voices a dissenting opinion
- Worries about how others feel about them
- Turns over important components of their lives to someone else
- Thinks of suicide to cope with feelings of rejection
Because of the intense reliance on other people to validate their own worth, people with Dependent Personality Disorder often stay in unhealthy or abusive relationships. Some seek comfort through drug or alcohol abuse or continue to live with someone who even when the behavior puts them at risk.
Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder
Research has not yet determined a single cause for Dependent Personality Disorder, but many theories about its causes have been developed. Often this psychological problem seems to develop during childhood, and there are some indications that people may actually have an inborn tendency to expect the worst to happen in every situation. This may cause them to be indecisive and to take an inordinate amount of time to make choices.
There may be a genetic component to feelings of dependence, but researchers have also found that Dependent Personality Disorder is slightly more prevalent in adults who had extremely controlling parents. Children who have long physical illnesses or chronic health conditions during their formative years may also have higher odds of developing this disorder. The risk of developing Dependent Personality Disorder also seems to be greater for those who have lived in abusive situations during .
Subtypes of Dependent Personality Disorder
According to psychologist Theodore Millon, there are five subtypes of adult Dependent Personality Disorder. • Disquieted Dependent: People in this subtype do not wish to be alone and often show avoidant behaviors. They may feel dependent on institutions, such as schools, to help shelter and guide them through life.
Accommodating Dependent: This subtype contains men and women who are pleasers and will do anything to remain in a relationship so that they do not have to be alone. They may abandon their own ideas, values, and choices to avoid conflict with important others.
Immature Dependent: This subtype is characterized by a naiveté that is almost childlike. People in this grouping have no goals and usually are lacking in the life skills required to take care of themselves and to make progress towards long-term objectives.
Ineffectual Dependent: Those with Dependent Personality Disorder in this classification are stoical and lacking in energy. They may have a desire to live alone and can be quite secretive and apathetic. These men and women do not wish to be encumbered with adult responsibilities and work hard to avoid them.
Selfless Dependent: The people in this subtype find their emotional stability through their relationships with other people. Loss of identity and independence is common for selfless dependents. Their lives center entirely on other people, and they have an almost obsessive desire to please them.
Treatment Options for Dependent Personality Disorder
Each person with Dependent Personality Disordercan benefit from a carefully tailored treatment plan, which may include psychodynamic therapy, group therapy, behavioral therapy, or pharmacological solutions. Some patients respond well to talk therapy alone while others require prescription medications to help manage the anxiety of seeking independence. The most helpful medications are often those prescribed for the relief of anxiety or depression. Assertiveness training is also helpful in some cases. Marriage counseling may be warranted as well.
Without treatment, people with Dependent Personality Disorder are prone to the development of other problems, such as drug or alcohol dependency or depression. They are also more likely to become involved with partners who abuse them emotionally or physically.
Dependent Personality Disorder FAQ
The following are some of the more common questions asked by those who think they or a loved one might have Dependent Personality Disorder:
How is Dependent Personality Disorder diagnosed?
Doctors will conduct an in-depth psychiatric interview to make a diagnosis of Dependent Personality Disorder, and in addition they may utilize one or more standardized assessment instruments. di. The tests used may include one the Millon Clinical Multi-axial Inventory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the Thematic Apreception Test, or the Rorschach Psycho diagnostic Test.
Will a person with Dependent Personality Disorder become more independent if they are forced away from the person or people on whom their dependency is currently centered?
Forcing someone with Dependent Personality Disorder to part ways with the people who aid them in making choices is not generally the best idea. Without therapy to develop the tools for decision making first, people with Dependent Personality may be left without the ability take care of their physical needs, hold down a job, or interact socially with others.
How common is Dependent Personality Disorder compared to other psychological conditions?
For those over the age of 18, this disorder is among the most commonly diagnosed issues among those seeking help from mental health professionals. Doctors are reluctant to diagnose personality disorders before age 18 because it is believed that many aspects of personality can change during the course of adolescence.
What is the prognosis for someone given the diagnosis of Dependent Personality Disorder?
People who are willing to enter therapy for Dependent Personality Disorder usually respond very well to the interventions used during treatment. Although many remain in therapy for quite some time to learn coping skills, they do become more autonomous in their decision making and rely less on others to provide their sense of worth.
Why Should People Choose Bridges to Recovery for Dependent Personality Disorder Residential Treatment?
People with Dependent Personality Disorder have sometimes spent years letting others choose their course of action and accepting criticism without debate. Bridges to Recovery Residential Treatment Centers can be an important stepping stone to reducing the distress of feeling helpless without the guidance of others. The warm and attentive staff at Bridges creates a soothing atmosphere where clients can relax without fear or worry as they take steps toward a better life.
The counselors and psychiatrists at Bridges to Recovery have worked with many patients who have Dependent Personality Disorder and understand that each one responds differently to treatment. Because of this, they monitor every aspect of the mental and physical health treatment plan and make changes if difficulties arise at any point. This careful monitoring and ability for all doctors and counselors to work as a team is one of the major benefits of residential treatment.
The treatment team at Bridges to Recovery will do everything possible to help clients improve their capacity to stand on their own two feet. During their stay at Bridges to Recovery, all patients are treated with respect and their comfort will be of major concern to every staff member. All personnel at these residential centers take very seriously the responsibility for helping each patient move forward to good health, and they have been trained to assist clients as they progress toward their goals. The helpful attitudes of the staff make it easy for the clients to focus on getting better so that they can complete their treatment programs successfully and continue to function well once they leave the facility.