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How to Get Over Being Needy

How can you get help getting over being needy? It may be symptomatic of dependent personality disorder.

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"Needy" people may be suffering from dependent personality disorder.

Individuals who have been accused of "being needy," or if who cling desperately to relationships -- whether or not they're healthy -- may be suffering from a chronic psychological condition called dependent personality disorder. According to Mental Health America, women are more frequently diagnosed with dependent personality disorder than men.

Dependent personality disorder symptoms include an inability to make decisions without someone else's help, avoiding being alone, having exaggerated responses to criticism, allowing others to direct or control you, and obsessing over possible abandonment. People with this disorder might have trouble disagreeing with others, believing that other ideas and beliefs are "better" than their own. The end of a relationship may be completely devastating, leading to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Those with dependent personality disorder are more likely to suffer from depression or to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Emotional neediness can also be a component of several other psychological conditions like histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Dependent Personality Disorder Recovery

The first step in recovery is to identify and own the problem. Treatments are most successful when the patient has sought help on his or her own and understands that years of therapy may be necessary to make progress. A combination of psychotherapy and medication is often used.



Psychotherapy includes a wide range of approaches and methods. Some that have been employed in treating dependent personality disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a general term for a group of therapeutic techniques with basic similarities, including dialectic behavioral therapy, rational behavior therapy, rational living therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy and cognitive therapy. Each of these techniques is based on the belief that our emotions and behaviors are caused by our thoughts (internal) rather than by outside events or people (external). Cognitive behavioral therapy is also generally shorter in duration than other forms of therapy; on average, a patient participates in 16 sessions. The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists' Web site provides a cognitive-behavioral therapist search based on location.

Dialectical behavior therapy is often used to treat borderline personality disorders and is now used to treat other disorders as well. It has its roots in behavioral therapy and includes one-on-one counseling sessions as well as weekly group meetings. Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on four skill modules: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation skills and distress tolerance skills.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a "talk therapy" that was developed from the techniques and theories of psychoanalysis. In this approach, there is an underlying belief that one's emotional problems are based on unconscious conflicts and motives.



Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and tranquilizers may be used to treat co-occurring conditions. There are no medications available specifically for dependent personality disorder. Speak to a doctor for more information on medication.

Find Support

You may find that reading about others' struggles will help you feel less isolated. Check out some online support groups like the ones listed below.

Yahoo Groups' Dependent PD is a support group for people with dependent personality disorder, codependency and other related conditions.

Daily Strength hosts online support groups for more than 500 disorders, difficulties and challenges. The codependency support group may have some useful information.

The Dependent Personality Disorder Forum is an online bulletin board featuring messages and postings on the subject.

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