Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder

Lacking in self confidence and autonomy

Information regarding Dependent Personality Disorder – presentation, symptoms and treatment.

Dependent Personality Disorder beliefs, emotions and behaviour

Someone with Dependant Personality Disorder will view themselves as weak and others as powerful. They are not suspicious in any way, and will believe what others tell them.  They can overly focus on the positives in others rather than having a balanced view.  Understanding and beliefs about others will appear childlike and under developed for an adult. 

Missing Interpersonal Ability:

Ability to be independent

This person will have a lack of self-confidence and autonomy.  They will draw away from adult responsibilities by acting as helpless, weak and in need of others help.    When one relationship ends they immediately need to seek another one.  They may be passive but will generally do whatever is needed to be in a relationship.  Without excessive support from others they will become anxious, and fearful.  

Dependent Personality Disorder has a high occurrence with:

Dependant Personality disorder and issues

I am helpless, weak, incompetent

Beliefs about self

Others are strong and competent

Beliefs about others

The world is too scary to manage alone

Beliefs about the world

Holly grew up having to look after her mother who was often ill and who would become upset if she was not there for her.  Her mother was overly critical when Holly tried something new.   They have remained very close, with Holly deciding not to go to University as she did not want to move away from home and lose her mother’s support.  If she has to go out for more than a few hours alone Holly can get panic attacks.  She got a job at her mum’s place of work, doing admin work, after leaving school. 

Even though she has good A-Levels and could do something else Holly has never been able to decide what career she wants.  Her mum gives her advice on everything, from what to wear to the types of men she will like.  Holly started her first relationship recently, with a man ten years her senior.  She likes him as he is strong and confident, although he dominates her and has laid out strict rules. These include telling her to stop seeing a number of her friends, which she has done.  She has agreed to move in with him after three months of dating.

example presentation

Dependent Personality Disorder diagnosis criteria:

The DSM V states that a diagnosis must include the following:

A. An excessive and pervasive need to be taken care of , submissive, clinging, needy behavior due to fear of abandonment. This may be expressed by:

  1. Difficulty making routine decisions without input, reassurance, and advice from others.
  2. Requires others to assume responsibilities which they should be attending to.
  3. Fear of disagreeing with others and risking disapproval.
  4. Difficulty starting projects without support from others.
  5. Excessive need to obtain nurturance and support from others, even allowing other to impose themselves rather than risk rejection or disapproval.
  6. Feels vulnerable and helpless when alone.
  7. Desperately seeks another relationship when one ends.
  8. Unrealistic preoccupation with being left alone and unable to care for themselves

Treatment for Dependant Personality Disorder:

As with other Personality Disorders in the ‘anxious/fearful’ domain, there are no specific guidelines regarding treatment. However, research has suggested that Cognitive Behavioural strategies can help. These aid the person to learn to view themselves and their abilities differently, and put in place behavioural strategies to build their independence. There is also emerging research that mindfulness-based interventions and Schema Therapy can be of help.

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