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Alternative NamesPersonality disorder - dependent
Definition Return to top
Dependent personality disorder is a long-term (chronic) condition in which people depend too much on others to meet their emotional and physical needs.
Causes Return to top
Dependent personality disorder usually begins in childhood. However, the cause of this disorder is unknown. It is one of the most common personality disorders, and is equally common in men and women.
Symptoms Return to top
People with this disorder do not trust their own ability to make decisions. They may be devastated by separation and loss. They may go to great lengths, even suffering abuse, to stay in a relationship.
Exams and Tests Return to top
A person with dependent personality disorder may:
Treatment Return to top
There is no specific treatment for this disorder. Psychotherapy may be useful in gradually helping the person make more independent choices in life. Medication may also be helpful in treating any other underlying conditions.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Improvements are usually seen only with long-term therapy.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider or a mental health professional if you or your adolescent has symptoms of dependent personality disorder.
References Return to top
Young JQ. Dependent personality disorder. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2008: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.Update Date: 10/17/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Timothy A. Rogge, MD, private practice in Psychiatry, Kirkland, Washington. Also reviewed byDavid Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.