Psychologist (518) 372-0166

Q&A- What are the characteristics of Dependent Personality Disorder?

Susan S. Woods, Ph.D.question and answer with Dr. Susan S. Woods

Q: What are the characteristics of Dependent Personality Disorder?

A: People with Dependent Personality Disorder act anxious, nervous, clingy and fearful. They believe they are helpless, ask for constant reassurance and have trouble making decisions. They often seek out relationships in which they can be dependent and sometimes stay in harmful or abusive partnerships to avoid being alone, often quickly beginning another dependent relationship as soon as the last one ends. They believe they are unable to care for themselves and will remain submissive for fear of losing approval. They are not self-starters and in their fear of criticism or disapproval will put the needs of their caregivers above their own. Dependent Personality Disorder is first noticeable in young adults who find the demands of adulthood frightening and overwhelming. The problem is equally dispersed between men and women and it is thought that this condition may have biological origins and that overly strict, critical or domineering parenting can induce the symptoms. People with this condition often seek therapy in a crisis, but real change can occur only when the individual can accept the real source of their problem i.e. their own faulty belief system. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Assertiveness training can be helpful in reversing learned helplessness and giving the person more confidence.

Susan S. Woods, Ph.D.

700 McClellan St ♦ Schenectady, NY 12304 ♦ (518) 372-0166

825 Riverview Rd ♦ Rexford, NY  12148

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