Dependent Personality Disorders – Definition, Symptoms, and Causes

Dependent personality disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders where people become dependent, excessive anxiety and desire to get more attention from others.

Someone with dependent personality disorder often looks passive and does not believe in his abilities. This has an impact on their ability to live life, especially in socializing and working.

They do not have the ability to live independently and are always overwhelmed by the fear of being left by others. When they are alone, this makes them neither comfortable nor helpless. In the end, this will cause them to depend on others.

Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorders

Signs of dependent personality disorder will tend to be difficult to recognize if the sufferer is still a child or teenager. A person can be said to experience dependent personality disorder when he has excessive dependence on others when entering early adulthood.

In this age phase, a person’s personality and mindset tend to settle with fewer changes. In addition, people with dependent personality disorder tend to have separate fears.

Other common characteristics of this personality disorder include:

  • Inability to make decisions, even for everyday decisions like what to wear and always asking for advice and guarantees from others.
  • Avoiding adult responsibilities by acting passively and helplessly; dependence on a partner or friend to make decisions for work and life.
  • Intense fear is abandoned and a sense of destruction or helplessness when the relationship ends. Someone with dependent personality disorder often changes partners quickly when the previous relationship ends.
  • Too sensitive to criticism.
  • Pessimism and lack of self confidence are high. Sufferers have the belief that they are not able to care for themselves.
  • Avoiding expressing disapproval with others for fear of losing support or approval.
  • It’s hard to do everything alone.
  • Easy to tolerate treatment and harassment from others.
  • Placing the needs of others above their own needs.
  • Tendency to be naive and fantasize.

Causes of Dependent Personality Disorders

Until now the exact cause of dependent personality disorder has not been known with certainty. However, this is most likely influenced by a combination of biological, emotional and psychological factors.

In fact, some researchers believe that parental style that is authoritarian or overprotective in educating children can lead to the development of the characteristics of dependent personality disorder.

However, genetics also more or less influence a person’s tendency to have a dependent personality, because genetics also have a part in shaping one’s personality.

In addition, several types of experience can also increase a person’s risk of having a dependent personality disorder, including:

  • Trauma due to being abandoned by someone.
  • Experienced acts of violence.
  • Being in an abusive relationship for a long time.
  • Childhood trauma.

Diagnosis of Dependent Personality Disorders

People with dependent personality disorder will be referred to a psychiatrist or mental health professional. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and check your mental health and medical history. The diagnosis will be delivered after an overall mental examination, this is done to rule out other disease factors.

Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interviews and assessment tools to evaluate someone with a personality disorder. Although there are no laboratory tests that can specifically diagnose personality disorders, doctors may use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical illness as a cause of symptoms.

Management of Dependent Personality Disorders

Dependent personality disorder tends to last for a long time but can decrease in intensity with age. Therapy in overcoming dependent personality disorder tends not to use drugs but through psychotherapy with speech therapy methods.

The main purpose of this therapy is to develop self-confidence to socialize and help sufferers understand their condition. Usually speaking therapy is carried out in the short term, because if done in the long term the patient is also at risk of experiencing dependence on the therapist.

There are 3 types of psychological therapy carried out in the treatment of this personality disorder, including:

  • Interpersonal therapy. Therapy is based on the theory that an individual’s mental health will be influenced by one’s interactions with others. So if there are problems in these interactions, it indirectly makes personality disorders appear. So this therapy aims to resolve the problem in these interactions.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy aims to be able to change the mindset or behavior towards a more positive direction. This therapy is based on a theory if an individual’s behavior is a form of his own mind. So if someone has negative thoughts then of course the behavior that is shown is also negative and vice versa.
  • Psychodynamic therapy. This therapy aims to explore and correct the forms of irregularities that occur in patients who have been seen in childhood.

Until now there has been no effective way to prevent dependent personality disorders. However, exercising regularly, staying away from illegal drugs, engaging in routine relaxation and avoiding authoritarian parenting are just a few of the ways you can relieve symptoms.

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