Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by dependent and submissive behavior. The person often defers the majority or all decision-making to someone else. People with this type of personality disorder are not aware that their thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate.

  • Causes

    It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but it is likely a combination of genetic factors and a person's environment.

    The Central Nervous System
    Brain face skull
    A personality disorder is most likely a combination of chemical or electrical imbalances in the brain and a reaction to traumatic personal experiences.
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  • Definition

    Dependent personality disorder is characterized by dependent and submissive behavior. The person often defers the majority or all decision-making to someone else. People with this type of personality disorder are not aware that their thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate.

  • Diagnosis

    You will likely be referred to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. You will be asked about your symptoms. A mental and medical health history will be taken. A diagnosis will be made after a complete psychiatric assessment that rules out other disorders.

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent dependent personality disorder.

  • Risk Factors

    Dependent personality disorder is more common in women and in early adulthood. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing dependent personality disorder include:

    • Early childhood parental loss
    • Child abuse or neglect
    • Chronic physical illness during childhood

    Other associated psychological problems can include:


    • Major
      depression

    • Generalized
      anxiety
      disorder
    • Panic disorder
    • Social phobia
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Alcohol abuse or dependence

  • Symptoms

    Dependent personality disorder may cause:

    • Irrational fear
    • Relying on others for guidance, decision-making, reassurance, and advice
    • Excessive sensitivity to criticism
    • A strong fear of rejection
    • Perception of oneself as powerless
    • Low self-confidence

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes counseling, medication, and therapy. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include: