Dependent Personality Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Dependent Personality Disorder, Asthenic Personality Disorder Diagnosis, Personality Disorder, Dependency, Histrionic Personality, Borderline Personality, Narcissistic, Antisocial Personality Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Dependent Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of the presence of dependent personality disorder often begins by performing a medical history followed by a thorough physical examination. It is notable that there are no laboratory tests specific to diagnose dependent personality disorders, but doctors often find the need to perform diagnostic tests in order to rule out the presence of physical illnesses that could possibly cause its occurrence. In the absence of any physical cause of the symptoms exhibited by a person, a psychologist or a psychiatrist usually intervene to conduct specific assessment tools and interviews in order to evaluate a person suspected with dependent personality disorder.

Health care professionals who are trained to diagnose mental health cases are always on the look out for behavioral manifestations of intense inclination to depend on others and with submissiveness in the fear of separation and loss. The behavior manifested by the person is one that shows an inability to cope with being alone and without the help of others. 5 The diagnosis of dependent personality disorder is highly suggestive once these common behavior patterns are persistent, distressing and disabling to the person concerned. 6

Precaution is always observed when diagnosing the presence of dependent personality disorder in adolescents and children where dependency behavior is commonly an appropriate development behavior. According to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, the most basic tool for diagnosing dependent personality disorder is to observe the presence of at least 5 of the common symptoms that are outlined above on DSM-IV-TR symptoms. 7

There are 2 basic criteria that are suggestive of dependent personality disorder namely:

Criteria 1. The individual usually has difficulty in making their own personal decisions without the advice and help of other people.

Criteria 2. The person lives passively with the tendency of letting other people take the initiative of running their lives for them.

The age and cultural factor are also essential considerations when diagnosing dependent personality disorder. Clinical interviews are also other means of assessing the symptomatic behavior manifested by the person. The following are some of the common assessment tools that help confirm the presence of dependent personality disorder: 8

  1. Thematic Appreception Test
  2. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  3. Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test
  4. Millon Clinical Multi-axial Inventory

Diagnosing dependent personality disorder also involves reviewing the family history of the individual with consideration of the genetic factor, as well as looking over the childhood nurturing history of the patient that often involves parental overprotection, lack of self-assertion and encouragement, and the inability of the person to have their own identity apart from their parents while they were a child.

The possibility on the participation of neural imbalance causing the poor coping mechanism of the person to deal with stressful situations must also be explored. Such imbalance may also be responsible for the occurrence of anxiety and distressing conditions experienced with dependent personality disorders.

Could You Have Dependent Personality Disorder?

Dependent Personality Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder – Disregard of Other People’s Rights, Deceit, Manipulation
Avoidant Personality Disorder – Social Inhibition, Feeling of Inadequacy, Sensitivity to Evaluation, Avoidance of Social Interaction
Borderline Personality Disorder – Instability in Mood, Psychosis, Schizophrenia
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Self Centeredness, Need for Admiration, Grandiosity, Lack of Empathy
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder – Obsession for Perfection, Abiding by Rules, Compulsiveness
Paranoid Personality Disorder – Long Standing Suspiciousness, Maladaptive Behavior