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    Dependent personality disorder

    Dependent personality disorder is amental healthcondition in which people depend too much on others to meet their emotional and physical needs.

    Causes

    Cause ofdependent personalitydisorderis unknown. The disorder usually begins in childhood.It is one of the most common personality disorders and is equally common in men and women.

    Symptoms

    People with this disorder do not trust their own ability to make decisions. They may be very upset by separation and loss. They may go to great lengths, even suffering abuse, to stay in a relationship.

    Symptoms of dependent personality disorder may include:

    • Avoiding being alone
    • Avoiding personal responsibility
    • Becoming easily hurt by criticism or disapproval
    • Becoming overly focused on fears of being abandoned
    • Becoming very passive in relationships
    • Feeling very upset or helpless when relationships end
    • Having difficulty making decisions without support from others
    • Having problems expressing disagreements with others

    Exams and Tests

    Dependent personality disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluationthat assessesthe history and severity of the symptoms.

    Treatment

    Talk therapy is considered to be the most effective treatment. The aim is to help people with this condition make more independent choices in life. Medicines may help treat other mental healthconditions, such as anxiety or depression, that occur along with this disorder.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Improvements are usually seen only with long-term therapy.

    Possible Complications

    • Alcohol or drug abuse
    • Depression
    • Increased likelihood of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    See your health care provider or a mental health professional if you oryour childhas symptoms of dependent personality disorder.

    References

    Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.

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                Review Date: 11/17/2012

                Reviewed By: Timothy Rogge, MD, Medical Director, Family Medical Psychiatry Center, Kirkland, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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