Dependent Personality Disorder 

One of the most common personality disorders is Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD). It leads to the emotions of powerlessness, submissiveness, a desire to be cared for, and for frequent consolation as well as an inability to make everyday decisions without the comfort and support of others.


This personality disorder affects both men and women equally and generally manifests itself in early adulthood or later as key adult connections arise.

The cause of DPD is unclear which makes it impossible to prevent the disorder from developing. However, detecting and treating symptoms as soon as they appear can help to keep the illness from progressing.
Treatment often improves the condition of people with DPD. Many of the symptoms of the illness will fade as therapy progresses. Many people with DPD can learn to make more independent decisions in their life through psychotherapy (counseling).

Dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder

Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder

People with DPD are dependent, passive, clingy, and they are afraid of separation. Inability to make decisions, even simple ones like what to dress, without the guidance and reassurance of others is another prevalent feature of this personality disorder. Other related symptoms involve the following:

• Avoidance of adult responsibilities by passive and helpless behavior; reliance on a partner or relative to make decisions.
• An intense fear of abandonment, as well as a sensation of sorrow or powerlessness when relationships fail; a person having DPD frequently jumps into another relationship when one ends.
• Extreme sensitivity to criticism
• Pessimism and a lack of self-confidence, such as the feeling that they are incapable of caring for themselves
• Avoiding disagreeing with people for fear of losing support or acceptance;
• Inability to begin initiatives or chores due to a lack of self-confidence;
• Difficulty being alone
• Willingness to suffer maltreatment and abuse at the hands of others
• Prioritizing the needs of their careers over their own
• Tendency to be immature and naïve

Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder

Although the specific causes of DPD are unknown, it is most likely the result of a mix of biological, physiological, behavioral, and psychological factors. Some studies suggest that among those who are susceptible to the disease, an authoritarian or domineering parenting style might contribute to the development of dependent personality characteristics. 

Risk factors of Dependent Personality Disorder

The following are some risk factors that may contribute to the development of this disorder:

• A history of abandonment
• Having had a harsh upbringing
• Being in an abusive long-term relationship
• Being raised by overprotective or dictatorial parents
• Having an anxiety condition in one’s family

Complications of DPD

DPD patients are predisposed to depression, anxiety disorders, and phobias, along with substance dependence. They are also vulnerable to abuse since they may be prepared to go to any length to maintain a connection with a controlling spouse or person of power.

Prevention of DPD

Although the prevention of the disorder is unlikely, therapy of DPD can occasionally help a person develop more constructive methods of coping with the disorder who is predisposed to it.

Personality structure formation is a complicated process that begins at a young age. Psychotherapy aiming at altering personality may be more successful when started early, when the patient is extremely motivated for change, and when the therapist and patient have a solid working connection.

Diagnosis of DPD

A provider will look for at least five of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria to make a DPD diagnosis. These elements are as follows:

• An all-consuming, irrational fear of being abandoned.
• Feelings of anxiety or helplessness while alone.
• Difficulty in managing the responsibilities of life without seeking help from others.
• Difficulties expressing a viewpoint due to fear of losing support or acceptance.
• A strong desire to get the support of people, even if it means doing unpleasant things.
• Difficulty making day-to-day decisions without feedback or comfort from others.
• Difficulties starting or finishing initiatives due to a lack of self-confidence or decision-making abilities.
• Strong desire to find a new connection to give support and acceptance after a close relationship ends.

Treatment of DPD

The treatment focuses on symptom relief. Psychotherapy is frequently the first line of defense. Therapy might help you understand your issue better. It can also teach you new techniques for forming good connections with others and boosting your self-esteem.

Medicinal Treatment for Dependent Personality Disorder:

Medications can assist with depression and anxiety but they should only be taken as a last option. Your therapist or doctor may recommend medication to manage panic attacks caused by excessive anxiety. Some anxiety and depression drugs are habit-forming, so you may need to see your doctor on a frequent basis while taking them to avoid prescription dependence.