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Dependent Personality Disorder

Abstract: People with Dependent Personality Disorder are not able to make day-to-day decisions. They ares afraid of being rejected or abandoned, and they put aside their own wishes and needs, while doing what others want.

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Dependent Personality Disorder

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Written by: Tasja Klausch
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 31 Jul 2008.

People with Dependent Personality Disorder show a dependent and obedient behaviour. They are not able to make day-to-day decisions. They ares afraid of being rejected or abandoned, that is why they put aside their own wishes and needs, while doing what others want.

This disorder is mainly found in women.

Diagnostic Criteria of DSM-IV

The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, More) describes Dependent Personality Disorder as a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others;
  • needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life;
  • has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. Note: Do not include realistic fears of retribution;
  • has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy);
  • goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant;
  • feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themself;
  • urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends;
  • is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of themself.
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