Characteristics of People with Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)

Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is one of the less common personality disorders affecting less than 1% of the world population. People with this disease are characterized by excessive dependence on others and always have a need for care and attention.

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) affects about 0.7% of the world population

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) affects about 0.7% of the world population

What is Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)?

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) is a type of personality disorder group C. Personality disorders are divided into 3 groups A, B and C. In which, group C has the common feature of anxiety. anxiety, fear, and extreme sensitivity in behavior and thought.

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by being overly dependent on others, having a constant need for care and help, and needing the reassurance of others in order to make decisions and take action. Patients always feel insecure and worried without a companion, leading to loss of self-control and lack of personal imprint in life.

Because it is characterized by dependence and anxiety and insecurity, dependent personality disorder can be confused with an anxiety disorder. According to statistics, the disease affects 0.7% of the population and is more common in women. Similar to other personality disorders, DPD causes impairment of social functions and greatly affects the lives of the sufferer and those around him.

Characteristics of people with dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder is only diagnosed in people 18 years of age and older. Because this is the age when the personality is completed and the emotional, cognitive and behavioral characteristics are rarely changed due to external influences. However, according to experts, the characteristics of dependent personality disorder can appear as early as childhood and become apparent in adulthood.

dependent personality disorder

People with dependent personality disorder always have an excessive need for attention, care and dependence

Each type of personality disorder will have its own unique characteristics, in which a person with dependent personality disorder will have the following symptoms:

  • There is always the thought that you cannot take care of yourself.
  • Dependent and always have the need to be cared for and cared for by others.
  • Because of the belief that they cannot do everything on their own, the patient strives to be cared for and cared for by others.
  • Unable to make decisions on their own and often needing advice and reassurance from others to make choices.
  • Often makes someone else (usually a fixed person) responsible for all aspects of oneself from health, work, relationships and more.
  • Some people can’t even choose the style of dress or work for themselves, but always consult others.
  • Consider yourself incompetent and weak. Therefore, patients often lack confidence and always put themselves below others.
  • Never show resistance and disagree with others. The reason is because the patient is afraid of not receiving support and help from those around him.
  • In many cases, patients agree with opinions, misconceptions and contrary to their own thinking simply out of fear of losing help.
  • People with dependent personality disorder rarely get angry or show extreme emotions due to fear of losing the help and support of those around them.
  • Because of the belief that they cannot do anything alone, patients tend to avoid tasks that require responsibility and have difficulty working independently or initiating challenging tasks alone.
  • People with dependent personality disorder are sometimes very capable. However, they only work well when they are supervised by others (who they consider to be more competent and in a higher position than themselves).
  • People with this type of personality disorder rarely make the effort or display the ability to assert themselves. Because they are afraid that flaunting their ability will make those around them abandon and no longer care and help themselves as before.
  • Often lack of life skills, especially time management skills, work arrangement and handling difficult situations in life.
  • Patients often have psychological fear, anxiety, insecurity when alone.
  • The need for excessive attention makes the patient defy extreme behaviors such as submitting to others with unreasonable demands, doing lowly jobs, being physically and emotionally abused. and sex.
  • People with dependent personality disorder mostly maintain relationships only with certain people they can depend on. However, these relationships often break down because the partner gets tired of the patient’s excessive dependence.
  • As soon as they are left, they will immediately find themselves another person who can continue to depend.
  • There is always fear and anxiety about being abandoned by those on whom the patient depends.

In addition to the above characteristics, people with dependent personality disorder may also experience a number of other symptoms if co-existing with psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, alcoholism, etc.

Due to the overwhelming need for attention, some patients can develop borderline personality disorder and dramatic personality disorder, experts say. Both of these personality disorders are characterized by attracting the attention of others and making an effort not to be left out in relationships.

Causes of dependent personality disorder

Similar to other personality disorders, the cause of dependent personality disorder is unknown. In which, a number of factors such as culture, biological factors and negative experiences from childhood have been identified to be involved in the pathogenesis.

Causes and factors that can cause dependent personality disorder:

  • Heredity: All personality disorders are inherited. Currently, many experts support the hypothesis that personality is a genetic trait and can change in a positive or negative way due to the environment. Therefore, the risk of dependent personality disorder is increased if there is a family history of DPD or other forms of personality disorder.
  • History of separation anxiety disorder: Experts have found that people who have had separation anxiety disorder since childhood have a higher-than-average risk of developing dependent personality disorder. Excessive fear of separation from loved ones gradually develops into dependence and need for excessive attention.
  • Psychological trauma: The need for extreme care and attention can be caused by negative experiences from childhood such as being abandoned by parents, being abused emotionally, physically, etc. This event causes psychological damage and inadvertently develops a persistent fear of abandonment.

Family upbringing: Overprotective families can cause children to grow up lacking social skills, low self-esteem, and always needing someone to take care of them. Some toxic parents often criticize, blame and underestimate their children’s abilities, which are also factors that increase the risk of disease.

How does dependent personality disorder affect you?

In general, personality disorders cause certain effects on quality of life. However, the type C personality disorder is less severe than some forms such as antisocial personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc. With timely examination and treatment, patients can build a healthy life.

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by anxiety, insecurity, fear of abandonment, and lack of care. Therefore, untreated patients can develop anxiety disorders and depression. Many people reassure themselves and soothe their emotions by using drugs and alcohol. These negative habits aggravate anxiety and depression levels and can cause physical health problems.

dependent personality disorder

Patients with dependent personality disorder are at high risk for alcohol abuse and substance use

In addition to the health effects, dependent personality disorder can be frustrating for those around them. Most people who are dependent find it exhausting, annoying, and sometimes decide to end the relationship.

Some patients may find themselves in toxic relationships, emotionally and sexually abused by their partners, and unreasonably demanding. Out of fear of abandonment, the patient never expresses objection or anger. In many cases, patients can get into dangerous situations if they associate with bad people.

Diagnosis of dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder will be diagnosed based on the DSM-5 criteria. The doctor will ask about the patient and take a personal and family history to assess the risk.

Patients will be diagnosed with dependent personality disorder when there is an exaggerated, persistent need for dependence, concern and care. In addition, at least 5 of the following criteria must be met:

  • Always hold others responsible for your life.
  • Difficulty making decisions – even the simplest ones without the advice and advice of others.
  • Never express anger or disagreement out of fear of losing support and concern.
  • Willing to do anything to be supported and cared for by others.
  • Difficulty initiating projects and tasks alone because the patient lacks confidence in himself and always thinks he will not be able to do anything on his own.
  • Feeling anxious and insecure when alone because of the fear that you will not be able to take good care of yourself.
  • Fear and anxiety about having to take care of themselves.
  • Always seek another relationship as soon as the relationship is terminated with the dependent (usually a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend).

These features must be present in early adulthood (18–29 years). This form of personality disorder shares some characteristics with dramatic, borderline, and avoidant personality disorder, so the doctor will order some additional techniques to make the differential diagnosis.

Dependent personality disorder treatments

Currently, there is no optimal method for personality disorder in general and dependent personality disorder in particular. However, current methods are of great help in improving quality of life and minimizing the effects and complications of the disease.

Treatments for dependent personality disorder include:

1. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy (psychotherapy) is the mainstay of treatment for dependent personality disorder. In which, cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy are evaluated as the two methods that bring the most positive results. The goal of this method is to help the patient develop independence, reduce anxiety levels and need for care and care in an excessive way.

Because the patient has a constant need for dependence, the psychologist should be careful to avoid creating dependence in the therapeutic relationship. After the treatment process, patients can get rid of the idea that they can’t do everything on their own and can study, work and live independently.

dependent personality disorder

As with other personality disorders, psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for patients with DPD

Patients with dependent personality disorder often lack social skills. Therefore, the psychologist will also equip the patient with the necessary skills so that the patient can easily cope and overcome life situations independently instead of having to depend on others as before. . In addition, the specialist will also help the patient improve their confidence and learn to argue against opinions that are contrary to their own.

Patients with dependent personality disorder are at risk of encountering bad subjects. So, the specialist will also help the patient understand the true meaning of relationships and learn how to build and maintain healthy relationships. In the case of being in a relationship, the specialist will recommend couple therapy to help the other person better understand the patient’s psychology and support the patient to overcome this disease.

Psychotherapy is of great help in improving a patient’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In addition, this method is also effective for accompanying psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, etc.

2. Drug use

Medication is not the first choice in treating dependent personality disorder. However, medication can relieve some symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. In addition, the drug also has a mental support role when psychotherapy.

dependent personality disorder

Patients can use some antidepressant drugs to reduce anxiety, insecurity

Some of the medications used for dependent personality disorder are:

  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors\
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • And some other anti-depressants

Neuroleptics are rarely used in patients with dependent personality disorder due to the high risk of drug abuse.

3. Support measures

Patients with dependent personality disorder often lack initiative and independence in life. In order to form good qualities, patients and those around them should take supportive measures.

dependent personality disorder

Patients should be encouraged to spend time on hobbies and develop their talents to be motivated to assert themselves

Support measures for patients with dependent personality disorder:

  • Patients should develop their own interests and strengths. Capacity development combined with psychotherapy will help patients achieve success and be motivated to build healthy lives.
  • Family members should support the patient, avoid letting the patient build a relationship with bad objects. Besides, it is advisable to reassure the patient that there is always a family to accompany in life.
  • Control alcohol and drug use, if any.
  • Family members should not be overly concerned with the patient. Instead, have the patient do some chores to increase independence and responsibility. In addition, the patient should be informed that arguing in some cases will not affect the relationship at all if both are skillful and well-intentioned.
  • Ensure proper nutrition and encourage patients to exercise regularly.
  • Family members can join the patient in psychotherapy to build a healthy relationship instead of dependence as before. In addition, family therapy will also help other members understand more about the patient’s psychology.

Currently, there is no method that can prevent dependent personality disorder. However, the right education and healthy living environment will help limit the possibility of developing abnormal personality types. In addition, each person needs to be equipped with necessary life skills to form more responsibility and initiative in life.

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