Dependent personality disorder is characterized by dependent and submissive behavior. The person often defers the majority or all decision-making to someone else. People with this type of personality disorder are not aware that their thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate.
It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but it is likely a combination of genetic factors and a person's environment.
The Central Nervous System
A personality disorder is most likely a combination of chemical or electrical imbalances in the brain and a reaction to traumatic personal experiences.
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Dependent personality disorder may cause:
Irrational fearRelying on others for guidance, decision-making, reassurance, and adviceExcessive sensitivity to criticismA strong fear of rejectionPerception of oneself as powerlessLow self-confidence
You will likely be referred to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. You will be asked about your symptoms. A mental and medical health history will be taken. A diagnosis will be made after a complete psychiatric assessment that rules out other disorders.
Treatment includes counseling, medication, and therapy. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Counseling may be beneficial for people with dependent personality disorder. Counseling sessions focus on learning how to manage your anxiety and be more assertive.
Medications may be prescribed to treat other psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
Other treatments, such as cognitive behavioral or group therapy can help you manage symptoms.
There are no current guidelines to prevent dependent personality disorder.
Dependent personality disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed December 15, 2011. Updated July 22, 2013.
Personality disorders. Mental Health America website. Available at:
http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectId=C7DF8E96-1372-4D20-C87D9CD4FB6BE82F. Accessed July 22, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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