Addiction Personality Disorder: What Is It?

Often times, mental disorders have nothing to do with hallucinations or the inability to perceive certain things or do certain actions, but are expressed through our social relationships and the way we experience them.

This is the case with substance abuse personality disorderAlso known as dependent personality disorder. If we had to explain in a single sentence what it is, the explanation would be this: the habit of transforming our social relations into straps which bind us and totally limit our freedom. It is based on the fear of being abandoned by others.

Below we will see what the characteristics, symptoms, causes and treatments associated with this disorder.

    What is dependent personality disorder?

    It is a mental disorder characterized by pathological need to maintain close personal relationships offer protection and care to those who suffer from it. In practice, this results in the adoption of habits and attitudes linked to submission and extreme dependence.

    It is a personality disorder which, according to the diagnostic criteria of the DSM IV manual, belongs to group C, anxiety or anxiety disorders. This is a category that shares with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and avoidance personality disorder.

    As for its epidemiology, it is believed that this disorder it affects about 0.5% of the population and which is more common in women than in men.

    his symptoms

    The main symptoms of substance abuse personality disorder are as follows.

    Fear of loneliness

    People with this disorder they are afraid of being helpless and in a vulnerable situation where they need help and cannot get it. This leads them to take desperate initiatives to anticipate isolation, even if this exposes them to the risk of breaking with certain social conventions (which would move them further away from their goal).

    low self-esteem

    Constant dependence on others that the self-esteem of these people is severely damaged. This leads them to seek to “complete” themselves through the presence of other people, because they feel that they alone cannot face life.

      extreme indecision

      People with addictive personality disorder adopt an extremely passive attitude and they avoid having to make decisions, even if they are trivial and of little importance. They always try to be the ones who decide.

      Pessimism about their own abilities

      These individuals tend to believing that they are unable to perform the most basic actions and that they will fail in any project they propose; that is why they must be in contact with someone with whom it is possible to survive.

      Constant search for relationships

      As if it needs uninterrupted protectionThese people are always on the lookout for new relationships when old ones are broken. Time spent without someone’s protection is considered a danger, something that can lead to harm or situations where integrity itself is compromised.

      Very low assertiveness

      For people with this personality disorder they find it very difficult to disagree with certain ideas, rules or opinions.

      Constant need for the protection of others

      He is still wanted the presence of someone with whom it is possible to count as a protective agent.

        the causes

        It is estimated that it is a high heritability disorder (About 80% of the variance). However, below, we know how much of this heritability is due more to genetics and what has to do with the environments shared with the parents.

        In all cases, the person who detects cases of addiction personality disorder should be a mental health professional and the diagnosis should be entirely their own responsibility.

        Addictive Personality Disorder Subtype

        A classification with different subtypes of addictive personality disorder has been proposed, to explain the symptoms in more detail. They are as follows.


        People who “surrender” entirely to the other person and forget their interests beyond the need for protection and guidance. He has masochistic features.


        It is characterized by the fear of facing any type of problem and by extreme passivity.


        A clearly anxious profile who structures his life around submission to another person. He is docile, obliging and devoted.


        With characteristics related to innocence and children, he is fundamentally distinguished by his gullibility and incompetence in performing simple tasks for the adult standard.


        A profile that expresses mistrust and constant fear, avoids any type of problem and avoids the relationship with people who are not “the protective figure”.


        Addiction Personality Disorder is based on very persistent mental and behavioral habits that remain present over time, and it is very difficult for your symptoms to go away.

        In this sense, cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective to improve self-esteem and fight symptoms of depression, A disorder which is often associated with it. In addition, through this form of psychotherapy, he trains in social skills and routines to combat anxiety and fear.

        On another side, the use of psychotropic drugs generally oriented to intervene on symptoms derived from anxiety and depression, although always with medical prescription and with exhaustive follow-up.

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