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;

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  • 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

the disorder.

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.

  • Treatment

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

to them

  • 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

different emphasis.

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