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Dependent personality disorder

Individuals with  Dependent Personality Disorder have a pattern of general and excessive need to be cared for, leading to submissive behavior, attachment, and fear of separation; Such submissive and dependent behavior seeks to attract attention and arises from a perception of themselves as unable to function properly without the help of others.

People with dependency personality disorder are generally characterized by being pessimistic, presenting low self-esteem , lack of self – confidence and living with a constant feeling of doubt. These subjects are afraid of being abandoned or separated from the important people in their life , for this reason they present behaviors of dependence and submission, trying to provoke protective behavior in the other person towards them.

When a relationship ends , individuals with this disorder quickly seek another relationship that can provide the necessary care and protection.

Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder

As with most personality disorders, the specific causes are unknown. This disorder is believed to generally appear in early adulthood, and people who experienced a chronic physical illness or separation anxiety disorder in childhood or adolescence may be at increased risk of developing a dependent personality disorder.

Some research proposes that the causes of this disorder may be due to a set of biopsychosocial factors , including: environmental factors, psychological factors, and biological factors. The environment is believed to play a fundamental role in Dependent Personality Disorder. An individual who was the victim of some traumatic or unpleasant event in his childhood or early adolescence – either being a victim of abuse or loss of a loved one – will be more predisposed to present this disorder.

Genetics is the biological factor that is believed to be directly related to personality disorders. If a close relative suffers or suffered from a dependent personality disorder, the subject will be predisposed to develop it, either through the transmission of genes or through upbringing.

Characteristic Signs of Dependent Personality Disorder

  • Need to be taken care of
  • Submission and excessive adherence
  • Fear of separation
  • Difficulty making common decisions without excessive counseling
  • Behave submissively
  • Trust friends or family for decision making
  • Repeated need for security and emotional insecurity
  • Feeling easily hurt by the slightest disapproval
  • Feeling isolated and nervous when alone
  • Fear of rejection
  • Critical extreme sensitivity
  • Tendency to naivety
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty assuming responsibilities
  • Anxiety
  • Not expressing your disagreement for fear of losing support or approval
  • Difficulty starting projects
  • Panic attacks
  • They feel helpless when they are alone
  • At the end of a relationship they quickly look for another to replace it
  • You can offer to do unpleasant activities as long as you do not lose protection
  • They are passive and let others take initiative and assume responsibilities in the main ones of their life
  • They show no anger towards their protectors
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Diagnosis of Dependent Personality Disorder

To diagnose an avoidant personality disorder, your GP will begin by inquiring about the patient’s physical health and behavior.

As with most personality disorders, case managers must follow a series of steps before diagnosing:

  1. The doctor will first review the patient’s medical history to see his medical history.
  2. You will ask the patient some questions about their symptoms, for example how long they have been experiencing them and how they arose. You can also ask questions about your childhood and your current life.
  3. After reviewing the medical history, the patient will be asked for a physical exam and laboratory tests to rule out any physical problems that may be causing the symptoms.
  4. If laboratory studies show that there is no underlying pathology to the patient’s symptoms, the doctor will refer him to a mental health specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist.
  5. The psychologist or psychiatrist in charge of the case will begin by interviewing the patient using specialized assessment techniques for patients with personality disorders.
  6. After the evaluation, it will look for disorders related to the symptoms that the patient presents according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A dependency personality disorder can be diagnosed only if the patient has the following symptoms: 

  • Has difficulty making decisions without help
  • You need others to take responsibility for most of the important areas of your life
  • Feels helpless at the thought of loneliness
  • Difficulty starting projects
  • Inability to be alone. Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
  • Difficulty expressing your disagreement for fear of disapproval
  • Becomes manipulative or is the victim of emotional blackmail

Treatment for Dependent Personality Disorder

One of the most used and effective treatments to treat personality disorders -including this disorder- is psychotherapy  and cognitive-behavioral therapy. They will be more effective if the psychotherapist presents previous experiences in the treatment of this type of disorder.

The therapist will help you through psychotherapy to implement the practice of good habits and will help you explore the thoughts that echo in your unconscious , to be able to attend and understand the focus of the disorder, in this way, to be able to generate nurturing bonds in the future.

In some cases, medications may be prescribed as a complement to psychotherapy, to try to minimize the symptoms of this disorder, such as anxiety and depression .

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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