Is Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment Effective?

Learn to recognize the signs of dependent personality disorder and find out if this common personality disorder is responsible for your loved one’s constant leaning on others. Help them seek dependent personality disorder treatment where they can rebuild their self-esteem and self-image enough to take back control of their own destiny.

If your loved one has dependent personality disorder (DPD), they may be deathly afraid of being alone and think there’s no way they can take care of themselves. At home, they depend on family members to take care of them, and become anxious whenever they find themselves separated from the rest of the family. Even if they’ve moved out of their childhood home and are living with a significant other, it’s highly likely that they may be in a codependent relationship, relying on their “better half” to provide and care for them more than they do for themselves.

The thing to remember about dependent personality disorder is that it isn’t something born out of malice, nor is it a product of conscious manipulation of others. It is rooted, deeply, in fear. Fear of ineptitude. Fear of being judged or criticized. And most of all, fear of abandonment.

But it’s important to remember, too, that fear can be overcome. Dependent personality disorder, like any personality disorder, cannot be cured. But if you’re asking yourself, “Is dependent personality disorder treatment effective?” the answer is a resounding yes.

Recognizing the Signs of Dependent Personality Disorder


The central feature of dependent personality disorder is having the feeling that you cannot trust yourself to make decisions, and the belief that other people have better ideas and are generally more capable. This causes a person with DPD to constantly doubt or put themselves down. Other signs that your loved one’s dependence may be a true disorder include:

  • Passivity
  • Inability to making decisions without help or affirmation from others
  • Difficulty disagreeing with others, saying no or setting boundaries
  • A fear and avoidance of being alone
  • Fears of abandonment
  • Inability to cope with responsibilities
  • Tolerating abuse from others
  • Feeling that the end of a relationship will be disastrous or even life-threatening
  • Inability to care for oneself or meet the daily demands of life
  • Feeling excessively hurt by even the slightest criticism or disapproval

While we all fear rejection to some extent and may suffer from self-doubt from time to time, someone with DPD feels these things most of the time. A true dependent personality disorder isn’t a fleeting moment of feeling inadequate or a “phase” that someone can grow out of. It’s a continuous and pervasive dread that nothing you do is ever enough and that you are the last person anyone should depend on—even you.

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How Effective is Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment?


Healing from, and learning to manage, DPD is possible. But it takes time, and patience, and support from both loved ones and knowledgeable experts alike in order for someone with DPD to establish a stable relationship with themselves and cope with their symptoms effectively.

Dependent personality disorder is often treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, and may be supplemented with antidepressants, sedatives or tranquilizers that treat co-occurring conditions, such as depression or anxiety. In therapy, your loved one will spend a lot of time working to understand why they don’t have faith in themselves and rebuilding their self-esteem. They’ll get to know themselves and will, in time, be able to recognize their own strengths and abilities, not just their weaknesses.

For many with DPD, the best place to find this stability and inner peace is in a residential treatment facility where the stressors of everyday life—as well as the codependent relationships they’ve been leaning on—can be set aside in order to focus on building self-confidence and increasing independence. In group therapy, they can connect with others who are coping with the same fears and struggles as they are, while in family therapy you will be able to participate actively in the healing process by learning together with your loved one about how to set boundaries and turn codependent relationships into healthy ones.

 

Dependent personality disorder can bea challenge to live with, both for the one diagnosed and for the people on whom they have come to depend the most. But with time and appropriate treatment, DPD can be overcome. Talk to your loved one about seeking treatment today. The sooner they get the help they need, the sooner they can learn how to stand on their own two feet and walk their own path forward, one step at a time.

Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive residential treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles and San Diego-based programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward healing.