Dependent Personality Disorder

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Recognizing and Diagnosing Dependent Personality Disorder

    Dependent Personality Disorder is characterized as a personality disorder. Occurring in both men and women equally, it may start to appear in early adulthood. People who experience this mental health condition exhibit an extreme form of attachment and dependence towards others, in particular loved ones.

    It becomes difficult, if not impossible, for them to make any decision in life without the assistance of another person. In some cases, the mental disorder can be extremely debilitating, leading the sufferer to total inaction and retreat from society.

    To diagnose this type of mental disorder, it is necessary to look at some specific signs. For example, the sufferer may display a complete inability to make even the simplest, most mundane decision. They can also present a strong avoidance towards adult responsibilities and, in general, an adult lifestyle. 

    The majority of DPD sufferers also display an extreme fear of abandonment and loneliness. This can be particularly harmful, as it sometimes means that they are willing to be subject to abuse or other forms of mistreatment just to avoid being left alone.

    Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder

    There is no clear consensus among Mental health experts of what exactly causes DPD.  Like most mental health conditions, they theorize that the occurring disorders can be attributed to a combination of genetics, environment, and development. 

    However, there is some commonality among people diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder.  DPD is more common in people who have experienced: 

    Abusive Relationships

    Family history of DPD or Anxiety Disorders

    Childhood Trauma

    Certain cultural and religious practices that promote reliance on authority

    woman looking through window blinds with er head in er hands

    Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)

    Someone with a dependent personality disorder may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:

    addiction treatment programs

    Avoiding Responsibility

    Difficulty Being Alone

    Fear of Abandonment

    Oversensitivity to Criticism


    Lack of Self-Confidence

    Difficulty Making Decisions

    Professional Knowledge, Caring Attitude

    The expert clinical team of therapists, physicians, and nurses at D’Amore Mental Health have a strong understanding of dependent personality disorder. For this reason, they are in the best possible position to develop a fully personalized dependent personality disorder treatment plan between patient and mental health professional.

    By coupling medical skills and expertise with a caring, welcoming attitude towards its patients, the clinical team has treated many DPD sufferers in the Orange County area.

    Dependent Personality Disorder FAQs

    As a type of anxious personality disorder, dependent personality disorder (DPD) is characterized by dependency on others. It is common for people with DPD to feel helpless, submissive, or incapable of taking care of themselves. They may have difficulty making simple decisions.

    The benefits of psychotherapy include improved self-esteem and healthier relationships for someone with dependent personality disorder. This condition is often treated with behavioral therapy or group therapy, which includes assertiveness training.

    The prevalence of DPD has been found to be higher in people who have experienced certain life experiences, including: Abusive relationship: People who have had an abusive relationship are more likely to develop DPD. DPD can develop in children who have been abused (including verbal abuse) or neglected as a child.

    Try not to take on their responsibilities or encourage their dependence on you and your close relationship. Pay attention to your own behavior. Let your loved one know you are concerned. Suggest that they talk to a doctor or therapist to be evaluated and offer to come along to the first session if they want you to.

    Those living with dependent personality disorder appear unable to move forward into the unknown due to the disorder. The development of productive support strategies can help an individual living with dependent personality disorder.

    It is estimated that less than 1% of the general US population suffers from dependent personality disorder. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with it, although some studies found that men and women had similar prevalence rates.

    Related Articles

    woman cutting her own bangs

    Deconstructing Self-Sabotage

    Self-sabotage is a pervasive phenomenon that often operates silently within the folds of our psyche, subtly undermining our efforts to succeed in various aspects of ...
    Rception worker standing at hospital counter discussing medical expertise with a patient

    Understanding Voluntary Psychiatric Holds

    The journey toward healing often begins with recognizing the need for help. A Voluntary Psychiatric Hold represents a crucial step for individuals experiencing severe mental ...
    Couple Discussing Problems with Psychiatrist and Relationship Counselor

    How to Admit Yourself to a Mental Hospital

    Mental health is integral to our overall well-being, yet it's often shrouded in misunderstanding and stigma. This article aims to shed light on the path ...

    Clinically Reviewed By:

    Picture of Joseph Cavins, LMFT

    Joseph Cavins, LMFT

    Joseph attended the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology where he completed a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. Joseph interned at Aspen community services, then remained on the team for 10 years, during which time he became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and gained certification from the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Association as a Mental Health Provider in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.