Dependent Personality Disorder in Westminster, CO—Therapists and Counselors

Buster Bluth climbed underneath his company’s boardroom table to hide. No, he was not a child playing hide-and-seek at his father’s office. Buster was leading his first business meeting on his first day of work. In his over thirty years of life, Buster had never had to work and provide for himself. He lived with his mother and for her every whim. However, when Buster’s father was arrested and his older brothers quit the family business in frustration, Buster tried to step up. His inabilities contribute to many jokes on the hit show Arrested Development, but Buster Bluth also draws attention to a serious disorder: Dependent Personality Disorder.

Like Buster, many people who have Dependent Personality Disorder have a number of professional and personal problems. They rely upon an authority figure to be their caretaker, and they often have very low self-esteem. People with the disorder often do not have confidence to take care of their own physical and emotional needs so they look to others to meet their needs. Instead of building a unique, independent life, they depend upon another’s provision, thoughts, feelings, and actions. Dependent Personality Disorder can severely limit an individual, but there are treatment options available. People with the disorder can learn to autonomous and self-reliant. They can live their own, unique life.

“Man’s life is independent.
He is born not for the development of the society alone,
but for the development of his self.”
—B. R. Ambedkar

Thriveworks Westminster has appointments available for Dependent Personality Disorder, and our mental health professionals have worked with many people who struggle with dependency. We know how the disorder can hold people back, but we also know the treatment options that are available. It is possible to live an independent life.

Dependent Personality Disorder’s Red Flags

Dependent Personality Disorder introduces many distorted ways of seeing the world. Two of the most toxic thoughts it leads people to believe is that they cannot take care of themselves and that they must rely upon other people to provide for their financial, psychological, emotional, and material needs. These are two side of the same coin, and these beliefs send people into a spiral of dependency. The toxic thoughts show up in real-life actions and experiences. Which people have the disorder, they often are clingy and experience severe separation anxiety. They may have an inaccurate self-image that overemphasizes their weaknesses but underestimates their strengths. They often feel incapable.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines a full description for diagnosing the disorder. The major red flags for Dependent Personality Disorder (301.6[F70.7]) are:

  1. Fear of separation.
  2. Submissive behavior.
  3. A need to be cared for.

When people are diagnosed with the disorder, a minimum of five other symptom will also be displayed:

  • Feeling uncomfortable with one’s own independent, uniqueness, and individuality.
  • Reaching out for advice and reassurance for most daily decisions.
  • Handing over major areas of one’s life to a caregiver or an authority figure (e.g., having a parent pay your bills).
  • Experiencing the intense fear of being abandoned by a caregiver.
  • Being extremely obedient and compliant toward authority figures.
  • When a caretaking relationship comes to an end, replacing it quickly so as to avoid caring for oneself.
  • Having difficulty with establishing and cultivating mutual friendships that do not evolve into caretaking relationships.
  • Downplaying one’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, and perspectives in order to appease a caregiver and secure an authority figure’s continued support and nurture.

A quick read through these red flags, signs, and symptoms gives a little picture of the difficulties that Dependent Personality Disorder can cause. The disorder can introduce many personal and professional handicaps into an individual’s life. Professionally, those with the disorder may have difficulty finding and maintaining a job because they often lack initiative and confidence. Personally, people with the disorder often have social circles that are limited to their family and/or caregivers. The disorder also increases their risk for other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders.

Dependent Personality Disorder: Learning to Be Independent

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
—Michel de Montaigne

When people treatment for Dependent Personality Disorder, the goal is independence. Therapists and counselors must avoid becoming yet another authority figure or caretaker in an individual’s life, but instead, mental health professionals must teach skills for self-reliance. Reaching independence may require a client to dig into past psychological wounds to find healing. It may require them to learn how to cope with difficult emotions. There are a number of ways to achieve these goals, but a few include…

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: focuses upon the false beliefs that undergird the disorder and seeks to confront these with true, positive thinking.
  • Medication: may help alleviate some of the worst symptoms so that individuals can focus upon healing and building their coping skills.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: delves into how and why the disorder formed. When there are psychological wounds, those can then be identified and healing applied.

Scheduling Treatment at Thriveworks Westminster

If you are experiencing dependency, know that you are not alone and help is available. When you call Thriveworks Westminster, you may be meeting with a therapist the following day. A scheduling specialist answers our phone and helps our clients set up their sessions. Weekend and evening appointments are offer, and many different insurance plans are accepted. Call today.

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Thriveworks Counseling

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  • 8461 Turnpike Dr. #203
    Westminster , CO 80031

  • Mon-Fri:8AM-9PM
    Sat-Sun:8AM-5PM