Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is a rare condition characterized by intense neediness, according to the American Psychiatric Association. About 0.5-0.6% of the general population is diagnosed with it every year. While according to some studies it is diagnosed more often in women than men, other studies indicate a similar prevalence of DPD among men and women.
According to Dr. Naazneen Ladak, a Psychiatrist at AXIS Hospital, Mumbai, Dependent Personality Disorder is characterized by excessive emotional and physical dependency on other people.
In people with dependents, personality feels the need that they cannot do or achieve anything without relying on other people. There is a constant need for assurance and need to be taken care of all the time, which if not given, they develop feelings of isolation and low self-esteem.
What are the Symptoms Of Dependent Personality Disorder?
Dr. Ladak said, people with dependent personality disorder have difficulty in making decisions and completing the task without the help of others. They lack confidence and rely on other’s opinions for everything, and hence exhibit clingy and passive behavior. They are constantly in fear of other’s approval and cannot stand to be alone and hence also have symptoms of depression and anxiety. They think on the extreme, expect the worst out of all situations. Because of their dependency, their relationships are faltered.
Some of the common symptoms of DPD are,
- A pattern of a pervasive and excessive psychological dependence on other people
- Needing to be taken care of
- Relying on someone else to meet one’s own emotional and physical needs
- Fear of separation, and passive, clinging
- Submissive behavior
What are the Risk Factors Involved with Dependent Personality Disorder?
According to Dr. Ladak, People with a history of neglect and abusive relationship tend to develop dependant personalities. Children with overprotective and authoritarian parents tend to develop this personality and genetics also play a part.
DPD leads to difficulties in decision-making; sometimes people with DPD struggle in making choices as seemingly simple as ‘what to wear today’ without the advice and reassurance of others.
Therefore these conditions can not only strain one’s relationships but also leave one vulnerable to abuse and exploitation because of one’s willingness to do anything to maintain a relationship with caregivers.
What Are the Treatments Available?
Dr. Naazneen said Psychotherapy helps to make an individual deal with their issues of over-dependency, confidence, and lay self-esteem. It ensures them to maintain healthy relationships. Medications might be needed if one shows symptoms of depression and anxiety.
What are the effects of DPD?
DPD has a range of complications that can disturb an individual’s day-to-day life activities. At work, it can impair one’s performance, prevent one from assuming positions of power and responsibility, or may cause extreme anxiety and depression.
Besides, that DPD can also distress their families, partners, or others close to them, who may find themselves assuming caretaker roles.
Can DPD Be Prevented?
The prevention of this disorder is not possible but the treatment of DPD can sometimes allow a person with this disorder to learn more productive ways of dealing with situations.
However, the development of personality structure is a complex process, and psychotherapy is intended at modifying personality may be more successful if begun early.