determined or conditioned by another

Dependency Dynamics: Mental Health and Beyond

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Dependency, a pervasive concept across various disciplines, remains a subject of considerable interest and inquiry. In this article we delve into the multifaceted nature of dependency, exploring its manifestations, underlying mechanisms, and implications within diverse contexts. From psychological dependency to economic interdependence, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of this complex phenomenon.

“The term psychological dependence is generally meant to describe the emotional and mental processes that are associated with the development of, and recovery from, a substance use disorder and process addiction. However, there can be no total separation of emotion and cognition from psychology. To imply that “psychological dependence” is not as serious as “physical dependence” represents a myth; in realty, these two designations do not exist as mutually exclusive categories and therefore cannot be contrasted as if they exit separately from one another.”

According to NECOLE, There are three main types of dependency:

  1. Codependency: Is a term that is more mainstream and is often used to define people who have poor relational boundaries and become enmeshed in their relationships.
  2. Counter-dependency: People who are counter-dependent are often opposites of those with codependent traits. This form of dependence actually isn’t dependent at all.  People who are counter-dependent fear closeness, connection, and vulnerability, and because of that, they remain hyper-independent with an avoidance mindset.
  3. Interdependence: This is the form of dependency we all must strive for because it is the healthiest form of dependency and promotes our mental health. We cannot do life alone, hence why we all seek connections in some capacity whether it be through dating or building friendships.

It is important to mention the Dependent Personality Disorder. According to Sheppard Pratt, “Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) is one of a cluster of personality disorders. Individuals with dependent personality disorder have an excessive need to be taken care of; it often manifests as “clinging” behavior, or a fear of separation. People with dependent personality disorder strongly doubt their own abilities and skills and cultivate an air of helplessness.”

Additionally, that is why is important to recognize their symptoms. Cleveland Clinic mentions some of them:

  • Trouble making everyday decisions, like what to wear, without constant reassurance and advice from others.
  • Difficulty starting tasks on their own.
  • Intense fear of not being able to take care of themselves.
  • Doing or volunteering for uncomfortable tasks to get support or nurturance from others.
  • Needing others to take responsibility for various aspects of their life.
  • Avoiding expressing disagreement or creating conflict in relationships for fear of losing the relationship.
  • Feeling uncomfortable when alone.
  • Having a fear of abandonment and sense of helplessness when relationship end.

How to recognize and work through emotional dependency? Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D. considers that it sounds like, “Do you love me?”; “Am I bothering you?”; “Do you really want to spend time with me?”; “How do I look?”; “You don’t want to break up, do you?”. “The emotional distress you experience when they can’t meet your needs can easily occupy most of your mental space. This leaves you with little capacity to pursue enjoyable activities or spend time with friends and other loved ones, both things that allow you to tend to your own emotional distress.”

At the same time he recommends how to overcome it: “Be honest with yourself. If you answered yes [to the above], take heart. You can absolutely take action to address this pattern.”  And, finally, provides some tips:

  1. Get more comfortable with your emotions.
  2. Take charge of your emotional needs.
  3. Explore your triggers.
  4. Talk to a therapist.

In summary, our article highlights the pervasive nature of dependency in shaping mental health outcomes and overall quality of life. By addressing dependency issues comprehensively, we can strive towards enhancing an individual’s capacity of autonomy, self-efficacy and meaningful engagement in daily activities.


“Dependent Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

“What Is Psychological Dependence? .” American Addiction Centers, 3 Jan. 2024,

B., Minaa. “2. Counter-Dependency:” xoNecole, xoNecole, 25 July 2023,

“Dependent Personality Disorder: Knowledge Center.” Sheppard Pratt, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

professional, Cleveland Clinic medical. “Dependent Personality Disorder.” Cleveland Clinic, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Raypole, Crystal. “Emotional Dependency: What It Looks like and How to Stop It.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 8 May 2020,

Leave a Reply