Dependent Personality Disorder

Clinic Locations in Boise & Meridian

Overview of Dependent Personality Disorder

A dependent personality disorder is an anxiety disorder that impacts a person's ability to be alone. Affected people are often overcome by feelings of extreme submissiveness, helplessness, or inability to do tasks independently.

What Are the Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder?

The most common symptoms of dependent personality disorder are:

What Are the Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder?
  • Acting passive when making major decisions like where to live with a spouse
  • Being overly sensitive to criticism
  • Lack of self-confidence that one can contribute to their own lives
  • Getting distraught when a relationship ends and jumping straight into another one due to fear of being alone
  • Inability to make choices without getting reassurance from others
  • Tolerance of abuse or mistreatment due to fear of abandonment
  • Prioritizing a caregiver's needs

How is Dependent Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

DPD shares symptoms with borderline personality disorder, so it's important to distinguish the two during a diagnosis. With BPD, fear of loneliness is often met with rage, self-harm, emptiness, or mood swings. DPD is usually met with submissiveness and the search for another relationship.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed, consult a doctor. They usually record medical and psychiatric history plus diagnostic tests, so they conclude whether one needs to see a psychiatrist or psychologist for a conclusive diagnosis.

Risk Factors of Dependent Personality Disorder

According to experts, these experiences and conditions increase the risk of DPD:

Risk Factors of Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Abusive relationships. Victims of abuse tend to have a higher DPD risk.
  • Family history. E.g., if a family member has DPD or any other personality disorder.
  • Childhood trauma. This includes abuse or being seriously ill at a young age.
  • Culture or religion. Some practices encourage people to be dependent on authority. While this is not a sign of DPD, it can increase the risk.

When Should You Get Help for Dependent Personality Disorder?

What Therapies are Available for Dependent Personality Disorder?

You should talk to your doctor if you're experiencing these symptoms because of an absence in your life:

  • Frequent anxiety
  • Pessimistic thoughts about yourself
  • Moodiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble focusing

What Therapies are Available for Dependent Personality Disorder?

Individuals with DPD can experience significant improvement with:

What Therapies are Available for Dependent Personality Disorder?


This is counseling that helps a person regain their independence by addressing behaviors that interfere with their self-confidence and assertiveness. One learns how to be in healthy relationships as they are helped to develop a new attitude towards their life relative to the people around them.

Psychotherapy may come in many forms, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or humanistic therapy. The treatment goes a long way in boosting a patient's mental health .


At times, DPD can lead to conditions such as depression . Your provider can give you antidepressants or even anti-anxiety drugs if you're experiencing anxiety.

Where Can You Go for Help?

We have counselors and therapists here at MidValley Healthcare who can screen for dependent personality disorder and other mental health conditions. Our mission is to help you reach a happier, healthier version of yourself. Call us at (208) 888-5848 or submit our contact form to inquire about an appointment.