Dependent Disorder

Support in sorrow

Dependent Personality Disorder

We all know what it’s like to rely on someone else for support and comfort. When we’re sick or injured, we might look to our loved ones to take care of us and help us feel safe. Once we’re back on our feet again, we can thank them and resume our normal routine.

For an individual who has dependent personality disorder (DPD), this neediness goes beyond what we all experience from time to time and permeates every aspect of their daily lives. It causes them to be overly reliant on others to fulfill their physical and emotional needs, leading to harmful patterns of dependent and submissive behavior. This condition is a serious mental health concern that can stunt one’s personal growth and sense of self.

At Avalon, we can help those who have been diagnosed with DPD become more assertive and independent. We use proven and holistic techniques to build confidence, change destructive thought patterns, practice decision-making and develop the coping skills needed to tolerate being alone. Our goal is to help each individual achieve lasting recovery so they can begin to live a more fulfilling, balanced life.

What is Dependent Personality Disorder?

Dependent personality disorder is a mental health concern characterized by an overwhelming fear of being alone, high levels of anxiety and a strong reliance on others. People with the disorder feel an excessive need to be taken care of and are unable to cope with life on their own, seeking instead to transfer total responsibility for their well-being onto another person. Relationships are often difficult, as the clingy behavior, intense neediness and lack of initiative that those with DPD tend to display can drive partners away.

Normally, individuals who suffer from this disorder maintain a very small number of relationships, choosing people who can provide for them within an environment that protects them from having to make important decisions. Because of this, they’re at an increased risk of experiencing physical or emotional abuse at the hands of others. They might find themselves willing to do almost anything, including putting up with mistreatment, to maintain even unhealthy relationships with a more dominant partner that meets their needs.

People with DPD are also at an increased risk for substance abuse, anxiety and depression. It’s important for mental health providers to identify any co-occurring disorders and treat the conditions together to provide holistic healing that promotes long-term recovery.

Living with Dependent Personality Disorder

DPD is estimated to affect less than 1% of the U.S. population. Still, living with the disorder or with someone who suffers from it can be a frightening, frustrating and destructive experience. The constant fear of rejection and abandonment takes a toll on everyone and it’s stressful for someone to carry the weight of two people’s responsibilities on their shoulders.

People who have been diagnosed with DPD can find it hard to keep their anxiety at bay and often feel helpless when they’re alone, unable to take care of their own needs. This can make navigating daily life difficult without relying on another person. As a result, those who suffer from the disorder tend to avoid professional positions of responsibility, independent occupations and situations that would require assertive behavior. They also become anxious or agitated when they are faced with even trivial decisions or certain routines.

A guardian, partner or caretaker of someone with dependent personality disorder can develop a growing sense of anger and resentment toward their loved one, as they may begin to feel that adults should be more capable and in control of their own lives. While it may seem easier to continue to care for and provide for a person with DPD, in the long run, the enabling may encourage their dependence and do more harm than good to everyone involved.

Characteristics of Dependence Personality Disorder

  • Strong Dependency on Others
  • Constant Need for Assurance
  • Emotional Blackmail
  • Sense of Entitlement
  • Crippling Fear of Abandonment
  • Feelings of Helplessness
  • Fear of Responsibility
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Anxiety About Being Alone
  • Depression
  • Perfectionism
  • Sabotage
  • Selective Competence
  • Stalking
  • Playing the Victim
  • Self-loathing
  • People-pleasing Behavior

Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment at Avalon Malibu

The aim of Avalon Malibu is to help people with this condition using what is considered to be the most effective form of treatment available: talk therapy. There are various approaches that have proven beneficial for improving the symptoms of DPD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and psychodynamic therapy. The goal is to help clients develop new attitudes and thought patterns about themselves and how they relate to others while learning how to become more active participants in their own lives. We also emphasize how to form healthy relationships.

A person diagnosed with DPD does not trust their own ability to make decisions; however, improvements are usually seen after long-term therapy, where the client is able to make more independent choices in life. Our staff works closely with individuals to prevent further deterioration, alleviate their symptoms and help them learn and regain new adaptive skills. Treatment also teaches stress management and interpersonal skills. Additionally, we focus on teaching autonomy (a capacity for independence) and addressing current life problems.

Those with DPD are often needy and require constant attention, validation and reassurance. Because of this, therapeutic gains may be hard to attain due to passive compliance. The client may also become dependent upon his/her therapist. We are very careful of this development at Avalon and establish productive boundaries that must be adhered to.

The Grand House

At the Grand House, we offer clients a calming and relaxing environment that promotes a sense of well-being. Our beautifully appointed, mostly single, private rooms have a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and access to the beach. While here, individuals will be able to regain their balance and work toward lasting recovery. One of our specialties relies upon the Buddhist-inspired approach to treatment, which includes meditation training to promote meaningful change that comes from within. We also offer a special family program in person or through Skype, where weekly sessions explore family dynamics.

While exploring the beautiful gardens of the Grand House, our clients can find the answers to such questions as: “Who am I?”, “What is my passion?”, “Do I like myself?” and more. With the powerful, peaceful influence of nature surrounding the Grand House, Avalon Malibu’s clientele embark upon a journey of inspiration, acquiring tools to change their lives in a positive way, for a lifetime.

We will work with most out of network PPO policies

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