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Definition  

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.

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The Central Nervous System  
Brain face skull

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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Causes  

It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but it is likely a combination of genetic factors and a person's environment.

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Risk Factors  

Dependent personality disorder is more common in women and in early adulthood. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing dependent personality disorder include:

  • Early childhood parental loss
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Chronic physical illness during childhood

Other associated psychological problems can include:

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Symptoms  

Dependent personality disorder may cause:

  • Irrational fear
  • Relying on others for guidance, decision-making, reassurance, and advice
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism
  • A strong fear of rejection
  • Perception of oneself as powerless
  • Low self-confidence
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Diagnosis  

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.

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Treatment  

Treatment includes counseling, medication, and therapy. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Counseling  

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  

Medications may be prescribed to treat other psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Other Treatments  

Other treatments, such as cognitive behavioral or group therapy can help you manage symptoms.

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Prevention  

There are no current guidelines to prevent dependent personality disorder.