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Dependant Personality Disorder

Diagnostic criteria for 301.6 Dependent Personality Disorder

A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
(2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
(3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. Note: Do not include realistic fears of retribution
(4) has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
(5) goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
(6) feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
(7) urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
(8) is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself (p. 668-9)

Associated Features and Disorders

Individuals with Dependent Personality Disorder are often characterized by pessimism and self-doubt, tend to belittle their abilities and assets, and may constantly refer to themselves as “stupid.” They take criticism and disapproval as proof of their worthlessness and lose faith in themselves. They may seek overprotection and dominance from others. Occupational functioning may be impaired if independent initiative is required. They may avoid positions of responsibility and become anxious when faced with decisions. Social relations tend to be limited to those few people on whom the individual is dependent. There may be an increased risk of Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Adjustment Disorder. Dependent Personality Disorder often co-occurs with other Personality Disorders, especially Borderline, Avoidant, and Histrionic Personality Disorders. Chronic physical illness or Separation Anxiety Disorder in childhood or adolescence may predispose the individual to the development of this disorder. (p. 666-7)

(1994) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association

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