Dependent Personality Disorder in Women
Dependent personality disorder is more common among women than men, but because people with DPD do not tend to seek treatment, accurate estimates for just how common this disorder may be are not available. A peaceful environment that focuses on holistic care, such as a women’s mental health retreat, may help more women struggling with this disorder get proper treatment.
The symptoms of DPD include a set of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that can be described as “clingy” or excessively needy. Women with DPD typically:
- Struggle to make decisions without input from others
- Feel unable to disagree with others
- Need others to take responsibility for major areas of their life
- Panic when relationships end
- Worry excessively about being abandoned
- Are willing to tolerate inappropriate or even abusive treatment from others due to fear that refusing to do so will result in abandonment
- Dislike or fear being alone
- Have severely low self-confidence
For women struggling with these issues, treatment can be difficult, especially because a key component of this disorder involves passivity. In an out-patient treatment setting, women with DPD would be at risk of recreating the symptoms of the disorder in their relationship with the treatment provider. When possible, a women’s mental health retreat may be the best setting for tackling these issues.
Women with DPD may be at risk for other disorders, including anxiety, depression, and in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of DPD can be anxiety-provoking, and the internal conflict between yearning for healthy independence while feeling shackled by the fears and limitations of DPD can lead to depression. In addition, DPD places women at risk for becoming victims of domestic violence or spousal abuse. In these cases, medications to address the anxiety and/or depression may be prescribed, but medications are not usually a first line treatment for DPD.
Living with DPD is difficult, but treatment can make a world of difference. If you suspect you may have DPD, seek help. It is possible to grow, change, and live more independently, but treatment is the key.