How to Help Someone With Dependent Personality Disorder

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 12:22 PM

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For individuals with dependent personality disorder (DPD) the road to recovery can be difficult. People with this mental disorder are in need of attention about most things they do, or accomplish. They are in constant need of approval from those close to them. They want approval, validation, and positive feedback for everything. They also look for socialization and much needed friendship to make them feel needed.

Most of the time, these individuals are very passive and will comply with the requests and demands of others. This is all in an attempt for approval and acceptance. Although psychotherapy is a traditional treatment it is often only surface deep. The individual begins to develop a dependency on the therapist and so gains in the treatment process are not always effective or recognized. The question then becomes how to help someone with dependent personality disorder without them becoming dependent on your help. It becomes a difficult task.

Individuals with DPD often have on-going complaints about their physical and mental well being. Most of the time this is an effort to establish a relationship with a doctor or therapist to aid in their dependency on others. Careful monitoring needs to take place so the patient is not over medicated and building up a connection to the doctor or therapist. There is a high burn out rate when dealing with an individual with this type of disorder. The task of routine reassurance and positive feedback becomes too much to handle.

Do not take on any more responsibility than helping with a plan of action to fix a problem. A problem with a clear beginning and clear ending is the most valuable type of help. For example, if they need help to balance their check book you do it one time. Help them, fix the accounting numbers, and problem solved. Do not become emotionally attached to other issues outside fixing the checking account.

Assertiveness training is always a good idea with a DPD case so they can learn techniques to stand up for themselves and speak their mind without the worry of approval. Sometime group therapy can help as well. The key for the individual who deals with a dependent personality disorder is building self confidence and self esteem.

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