Compared to other mental illnesses, dependent personality disorder (DPD) isn’t very common. It is only diagnosed in 0.5 to 0.6 percent of the general population. However, signs of this personality disorder can appear in virtually anyone. You may experience some symptoms of DPD throughout your life, even if you don’t have this mental health condition.
Many of us rely on others for comfort and support. If you have ever dealt with a lack of self-confidence, you have something in common with people who struggle with this diagnosis.
However, it’s important to note that just because you have some symptoms of this disorder doesn’t mean you require diagnosis and treatment. Those who have dependent personality disorder take everyday symptoms of insecurity and reliance on others for reassurance to a level that requires clinical treatment.
Today we’re sharing signs that you may be living with dependent personality disorder, additional problems that can develop as a result of this mental illness, and the best way to treat your symptoms so you can develop a healthy relationship with yourself and others.
Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder
Many symptoms can appear in those with DPD. Not all symptoms have to be present in order to be diagnosed, but if you suffer from this disorder, you’re likely to experience multiple symptoms at the same time.
Common symptoms of dependent personality disorder include things like extreme sensitivity to criticism, fear of abandonment or separation, and a sense of helplessness when a relationship ends. Everyone experiences some level of discomfort at the end of a relationship. For example, you might feel unable to make everyday decisions, and you may need constant support or approval from others.
Just because you experience some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have dependent personality disorder. Many of us feel helpless when a relationship ends, or we may seek support for an important life decision. You can only be diagnosed with this personality disorder if symptoms are taken to the extreme. For example, those with DPD will often enter into a new relationship immediately after one ends, and they literally cannot function during the day without getting approval from another person.
If you suspect that you may have dependent personality disorder, you should consult a medical professional. By having an expert look at your unique experiences and symptoms, you can more confidently decide if you need mental health treatment.
How Dependent Personality Disorder Is Similar to Anxiety Disorders
Personality disorders fall into three clusters. Cluster A includes odd or eccentric behavior, while cluster B includes emotional or erratic behavior. DPD falls into cluster C, which includes anxious or nervous behavior.
Other types of issues fall into this cluster as well. It is common for those who experience an anxiety disorder to experience symptoms of dependent personality disorder. For example, someone with anxiety might need frequent reassurance.
It is also very similar to borderline personality disorder. The symptoms are nearly identical, but how you react will determine your diagnosis. Those with borderline personality disorder respond to symptoms with feelings of rage and emptiness, while those with DPD respond with submissiveness.
The symptoms of DPD are very similar to other disorders and physical illnesses. That’s why diagnosis often starts with a physical exam. It enables your doctor to rule out a possible medical condition that could be causing your symptoms. If there seems to be no reasonable cause for your symptoms, and you experience multiple symptoms on the list above, you may be diagnosed with DPD.
Risk Factors of DPD
Symptoms of dependent personality disorder usually appear in early adulthood. Sometimes they seemingly appear out of nowhere. In other cases, certain factors increase the chances of developing this mental illness.
Being abused as a child or being in an abusive relationship as an adult can cause feelings insecurity that spiral out of control later in life. Overprotective parents and family members who struggle with anxiety can also cause DPD. There is also some evidence that women are more likely than men to develop DPD, but nobody knows whether this is due to biological or environmental differences.
Additional Problems That DPD Can Cause
Many problems can develop in conjunction with dependent personality disorder. For example, the constant stress of DPD could lead you to drink or use drugs to cope. This can lead to co-occurring disorders, where substance use disorder worsens a mental health issue and vise versa.
Dependent personality disorder can also put a strain on relationships. A person with DPD’s need for near-constant reassurance can frustrate their loved ones and create conflict between the two. As friends and family pull away, the individual may be tempted to cling even tighter to these people, which will only drive them further away. As important relationships dissolve, symptoms can become even more severe, and depression can develop.
This kind of behavior can also lead people into abusive relationships. By constantly trying to please their partners, people with DPD may not realize that they are not being treated with love or respect. Unfortunately, abusive relationships make it even harder to get critical mental health care.
Treating Dependent Personality Disorder
It is important to seek help if you think you are suffering from dependent personality disorder. It’s especially important if you’re dealing with other mental health issues or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital provides inpatient programs that can help you address your unique challenges in a comfortable environment. Unlike less intensive programs, inpatient treatment enables you to address what is causing your symptoms without outside distractions. Our adult psychiatric program employs evidence-based treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and recreational therapies to help you regain control of your mental well-being in a safe, welcoming environment.
Another benefit of an inpatient program is that it lets you develop deep relationships with the staff and residents in the clinic. Our group therapy creates a healthy, supportive environment for all of our patients. , which is important to anyone suffering from dependent personality disorder.
If experiencing the symptoms of dependent personality disorder is having a negative effect on your life, and especially if you’re experiencing this mental illness with co-occurring disorders, you should contact Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital. Fill out our online form or call us today at (225) 300-8470. We happily take referrals, and we also provide our own in-house assessments to ensure you get the care you need to live a healthy and rewarding life.mental