A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation, based on specific diagnostic criteria.
For medical professionals to diagnose dependent personality disorder, individuals must have a persistent, excessive need to be taken care of, resulting in submissiveness and clinging behaviour, as shown by at least five of the following:
- They have difficulty making daily decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from other people.
- They need to have other people be responsible for most important aspects of their life.
- They have difficulty expressing disagreement with others because they are afraid of losing support or approval.
- They have difficulty starting projects on their own because they are not confident in their judgement and/or abilities (not because they lack motivation or energy).
- They are willing to go to great lengths (for example, do unpleasant tasks) to obtain support from others.
- They feel uncomfortable or helpless when they are alone because they fear they cannot take care of themselves.
- When a close relationship ends, they feel an urgent need to establish a new relationship with someone who will provide care and support.
- They are preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of themselves.
Also, symptoms must have begun by early adulthood.