Dependent Personality Disorder
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.
It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but it is likely a combination of genetic factors and a person's environment.
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:
Other associated psychological problems can include:
Dependent personality disorder may cause:
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.
Treatment includes counseling, medication, and therapy. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
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 may be prescribed to treat other psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
Other treatments, such as group therapy can help you manage symptoms.
Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Dependent personality disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
Personality disorders. Mental Health America website. Available at:
Last reviewed July 2013 by Lukas Rimas, MD; Brian Randall, MD