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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

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Dependent Personality Disorder

How Is DPD Treated?

As is the case with many personality disorders, people with DPD generally do not seek treatment for the disorder itself. Rather, they might seek treatment when a problem in their lives -- often resulting from thinking or behavior related to the disorder -- becomes overwhelming, and they are no longer able to cope. People with DPD are prone to developing depression or anxiety, and symptoms of these disorders might prompt the individual to seek help.

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is the main method of treatment for DPD. The goal of therapy is to help the person with DPD become more active and independent, and to learn to form healthy relationships. Short-term therapy with specific goals is preferred because long-term therapy can lead to dependence on the therapist. Specific strategies might include assertiveness training to help the person with DPD develop self-confidence.

The use of medication is limited in cases of personality disorders but might be used to treat the depression or anxiety that can come with DPD. However, medication therapy must be carefully monitored because the person might become dependent on or abuse the drugs.

What Are the Complications of DPD?

People with DPD are at risk for depression, anxiety disorders, and phobias, as well as substance abuse. They are also at risk for being abused because they are willing to do anything to maintain their relationships with their caregivers.

What Is the Outlook for People With DPD?

With treatment, many people with DPD can experience some improvement in symptoms.

Can Dependent Personality Disorder Be Prevented?

Although prevention of the disorder might not be possible, treatment can sometimes allow a person who is prone to this disorder to learn more productive ways of dealing with certain situations.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on January 14, 2015
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