- DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDER
Dependent personality disorder, formerly known as asthenic personality disorder is
a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence
on other people. Persons affected by dependent personality disorder have a
disproportionately low level of confidence in their own intelligence and abilities and
have difficulty in making decisions and undertaking projects on their own. They rely
on others to make ordinary decisions as well as important ones. Their pervasive
reliance on others, even for minor tasks or decisions, makes them exaggeratedly
cooperative out of fear of alienating those who help their needs. Individuals with
dependent personality disorder sometimes agree to other people when their own
opinion differs, so as not to be rejected .
Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and
reassurance from others;
- Dependent personality disorder is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
encouraging or allowing others to make most of one’s important life decisions;
subordination of one’s own needs to those of others on whom one is dependent,
and undue compliance with their wishes;
unwillingness to make even reasonable demands on the people one depends on;
feeling uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of exaggerated fears of
inability to care for oneself;
preoccupation with fears of being abandoned by a person with whom one has
a close relationship, and of being left to care for oneself;
limited capacity to make everyday decisions without an excessive amount of
advice and reassurance from others.
- Causes of personality disorder
Although the exact cause of dependent personality disorder is not known, it most
likely involves both biological and developmental factors.
Some researchers believe an authoritarian or over-protective parenting style can lead
to the development of dependent personality traits in people who are susceptible to
It is commonly thought that the development of dependence in these individuals is a
result of over-involvement and intrusive behavior by their primary caretakers
Caretakers may foster dependence in the child to meet their own dependency needs,
and may reward extreme loyalty but reject attempts the child makes towards
Families of those with dependent personality disorder often do not express their
emotions and are controlling.
They demonstrate poorly defined relational roles within the family unit.
The primary treatment for dependent personality disorder is Hypnotherapy with an
emphasis on learning to cope with anxiety, developing assertiveness, and improving
decision-making skills. The most effective hypnotherapeutic approach is one which
focuses on solutions to specific life problems the patient is presently experiencing.
Long term therapy, while ideal for many personality disorders, is contra indicated in
this instance since it reinforces a dependent relationship upon the therapist. While
some form of dependency will exist, no matter of the length of therapy, the shorter
the better in this case. Examining the client’s faulty cognitions and related emotions
(of lack of self-confidence, autonomy versus dependency, etc.) can be an important
component of therapy.
Assertiveness training and other behavioral approaches have been shown to be
most effective in helping treat individuals with this disorder
- Diagnostic Features of Personality disorder
Excessive attention-seeking behavior and emotionality is the essential feature
of personality disorder. Individuals with histrionic personality disorder tend
to feel unappreciated if not the center of attention, and their lively, dramatic, and
excessively extraverted styles often ensure that they can charm others into attending
- Prevalence rate
The prevalence of personality disorder in the general population is estimated
to be approximately 2%-3% (and 10%-15% of psychiatric outpatients). Individuals
who have experienced pervasive trauma during childhood have been shown to be at
a greater risk for developing personality disorder as well as for developing
other personality disorders.
Clinicians tend to diagnose personality disorder
- Similarities and differences
Personality Disorder must be distinguished from other personality disorders,
especially from dependent and borderline personality disorders because they have
certain features in common.
It is, therefore, important to distinguish among these disorders based on differences
in their characteristic features.
Both histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder are
characterized by manipulative, projection sensitive, and attention seeking behaviors.
However histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder have