Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)
Dependent Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by an ongoing psychological dependence on other people.
DPD tends to be a long-term condition in which people depend excessively on others to meet their physical and emotional needs with very few sufferers ever achieving what might be considered full independence.
Dependent personality disorder is normally accompanied by excessive fear and anxiety and frequently leads to high levels of submission, passivity and helplessness which can place enormous strains on the quality of any intimate relationships.
As with all psychiatric disorders, the actual biological causes remain unknown and are yet to be identified, however, there does seem to be evidence that early childhood adversities, particulary related to the nature of their attachments with caregivers, may lead to high levels of dependence.
Dependent Personality Disorder Symptoms
There are several symptoms associated with Dependent Personality Disorder and diagnosis of DPD usually requires the concurrent experiencing of at least 5 of them, including:
- Difficulty making everyday decisions without external validation and reassurance from others – (fear of making decisions).
- Relinquishing of responsibility for most aspects of their lives.
- Fear of disagreeing with others to minimise possible loss of support.
- Lack of self-belief.
- Low self-esteem.
- A preparedness to do unpleasant tasks to obtain nurturance.
- Learned helplessness.
- Fear of being alone due to lack of belief in own abilities.
- May enter into new relationships very quickly after others break-up in order to maintain care and nurturance.
- Preoccupied with thoughts of being left to take care of themselves.
All of these symptoms or behaviours can be seen across normal populations but those with a dependent personality disorder experience them to such a degree that normal functioning is difficult.
Diagnosis of Dependent Personality Disorder
Technically, only a psychiatrist can diagnose a Dependent Personality Disorder, but in the UK general practitioners have tended to diagnose mental health problems by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM lists specific symptoms against a range of disorders and whenever a person meets this criteria, they are said to be suffering from that disorder.
A diagnostic procedure does NOT make use of medical testing (for example blood tests) in order to produce a diagnosis, but rather is an opinion based on the observation of certain behaviours in the person who is suffering.
Because of this lack of verifiable medical testing, diagnosis remains a controversial subject, particularly within the psychological (non-medical) community.
However, in the UK access to support services is often contingent on receiving a diagnosis, so in this sense, a formal diagnosis may be useful.
Getting a Mental Health Diagnosis
Please be aware that Lee Psychology do not diagnose mental health disorders.
Our psychological counselling services do not require you to have been formally diagnosed but should you wish to obtain a formal mental health diagnosis, then please contact your GP who can arrange it for you.
Counselling for Dependent Personality Disorder
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Dependent Personality Disorder and related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dependent Personality Disorder
- The CORE programme for Dependent Personality Disorder
- Counselling for Dependent Personality Disorder
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Psychiatry Through the Looking Glass
Read what the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and the United Nations (U.N.) said recently about the biomedical models of mental illness on Psychology Today.
Common Mental Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Depersonalisation Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Prolonged Grief Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder