Dependent Personality Disorder
There are an endless amount of disorders that
psychologists have to deal with everyday in their line of work. Some of these
disorders can be treated fairly easy, others might be incurable or very hard
to handle. There are some disorders that can harm the person or even other
people. This is why it is important to know a small portion about some common
disorders. In this essay, dependent personality disorder (DPD) will be
discussed. I will discuss the symptoms, the affects on relationships, the way
people with the disorder look at others and themselves, and what drug abuse
does to this kind of individual.
Dependent personality disorder is a persuasive
and excessive need to be taken care of that results in submissive and
clinging behavior (Morris 437). The symptoms of DPD are as follow: reliance
on other people to make life decisions, fear of abandonment, feelings of
helplessness and incompetence, passive compliance with others, and a weak
response to daily life. People with DPD are described as people that are
partly but not fully in existence (Morris 437). They think that they have to
have the same personal needs of other people. DPD causes people to tolerate
mistreatment. Sometimes they will be abused, but they will do nothing about
it because any attention is attention to them. Generally, people with
dependent personality disorder will live with someone who is controlling and
overprotective (Mental Help). When with a controlling person it makes the
person with DPD feel nurtured when they submit to the dominant person. People
like this have one significant goal in life, which is to avoid disturbing or
offending others. By this I mean they will put themselves down, will not
demand anything, and
will be very apologetic. One psychologist believes that three of the
diagnostic items for DPD may be tactics to keep a hold to important others.
These three tactics are as follow: pressuring for reassurance, mindlessly
agreeing with others in case disagreement could result in rejection, and
doing favors for the purpose of being ingratiating (Mental Help).
Personality-disordered people aren’t the only
people who can show the need for strong dependency. Normal people can have
the same problem. It is the way that the needs are expressed that makes the
two types different. Personality-disordered people tend to express their
needs in a more uncontrolled and maladaptive way (Morris 437).
People with DPD tend to see other people as the
type that can take in the responsibilities of life. They believe others are
much more capable of dealing with the in depth world and the competitions
that life has to throw at them. To people suffering from
personality-disorder, other people are powerful, competent, and capable of
providing security to support someone like themselves (Ekleberry). Dr. Kantor
puts it like this: "Judgment of others is distorted by their inclination to
see others as they wish they were rather than as they are" (Morris 438). One
way to describe their view of others is that they keep a kind of childlike
view of them. They keep these unsophisticated ideas of the people that they
are totally submissive to. They believe that they will be fine as long as the
dominant figure that they rely on is accessible.
A relationship to someone with DPD is necessary
for their survival as far as they are concerned. They must be in a supportive
relationship to be able to manage their life. In order to keep these life
sustaining relationships, those with DPD will avoid letting on even the
slightest hint of anger (Ekleberry). They will be admiring, loving, and
willing to give everything in their power. Other things that DPD individuals
will be to their significant one are loyal, unquestioning, and affectionate.
Now to most females out there that would seem like the perfect boyfriend, but
people with DPD take all of those qualities to the extreme. Dependant individuals
play the submissive role to the dominant other very well. They will
communicate to their other in a way that makes them seem useful, sympathetic,
strong, and competent (Ekleberry). When doing this, individuals with DPD are
a lot of times able to get along with people who are unpredictable or even
unpleasant. Some of the things that these people do are out of control. They
will go to endless lengths to be accepted by their partner. Even if this
means doing something that they believe is morally wrong, risky, or
unpleasant. The peculiar part about people with DPD is that even though they
have an intense need for others, they do not necessarily attach strongly to
specific individuals. For example: if they have lost a significant
relationship, they will become quickly attached to others without picking
certain ones to be attached to. The strength of the dependency needs is
basically interchangeable (Ekleberry).
The scary part of this dependency disorder is
that, due to their frequent failures in self-regulation, they have an
increased tendency to use drugs and alcohol as an alternative solution to
their problems in life. Freud once said that intoxicating substances keep
misery at a distance and provide a greatly desired degree of independence
from the external world (Mental Help). With the help of drugs, anyone can
withdraw from pressures that fill their life, but after a while it all
catches up to them. The one good thing is that DPD individuals do not have a
choice of drug. They will only use the drugs when there is a hardship in
their life. The location, kind of drug, and frequency of use makes no
difference to them. Most of the time these people will just drink alcohol or
seek sedative-hypnotics from a physician (Mental Help).
Dependent personality disorder is a very
serious disorder. There are many disorders that have effects that are much
more harmful, but this disorder is one of the most common. It also can lead
to depression and cause endless amounts of stress. As it is easy to see, this
disorder has affects on many parts of the human life. The symptoms of
clingingness and dependency have affects on how these people view themselves
and others. It causes many problems in their head and probably in their
relationships. This is what causes the drug use. Fortunately this disorder
has been proven treatable. The only problem is that these people don’t
usually realize that they have a problem. If they do, they will be
complaining of serious depression. All of this information has been put
forward to make everyone aware of the seriousness of personality disorders.
There are much more than one disorder and I recommend researching much
further into them if you find them interesting.
Ekleberry, Sharon. "Dual Diagnosis and the Dependent Personality Disorder."
From Our Desk. March 2000. http://www.toad.net/~arcturus/dd/depend.htm 20
Morris, Charles G., and Albert A. Maisto. Understanding Psychology. New
Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 1991.
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders." 1995.
http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=526 20 Nov. 2002.