Dependent personality disorder (DPD), formerly known as asthenic personality disorder, is a fear-based disorder characterized by excessive reliance on others to meet one’s emotional and physical needs, and fear of abandonment, making independence difficult.
DPD can be conceptualized in terms of the following tetrad or group of four:
- Cognitive: An image of oneself as helpless and weak, coupled with the belief that other people are powerful and strong in comparison.
- Motivational: A craving to get and keep relationships with guardians, providers, and caregivers.
- Behavioral: A trying to make personal and social relationships stronger to reduce the chance of rejection and abandonment.
- Emotional: Anxiety regarding the opinions of authority figures, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection.
The onset of DPD is usually from childhood to the age of 29. 0.5% adults meet the diagnostic criteria for DPD, and it is 3:2 more common in females than it is in males.
Improvement is possible thanks to long-term therapy.