It is normal for human beings to live in groups where they support each other. In itself, society as such is created from these links, the same ones that have allowed human survival since the beginning of civilization. The fragility of certain people is compensated by the empathy and disinterested help of others.

The human being is a social animal , it possesses all the qualities and capacities necessary to be able to interact with other individuals. As a result, multiple linguistic and cultural manifestations have been created, they are a clear example of how positive results can be obtained.

However, this mutual dependence creates a complex relationship. That is to say, it is a conscious reality that in turn can generate some problems derived from excessive dependence. This is precisely where conflicts begin, when an individual is not capable of taking initiatives or fending for himself. He will go on to occupy an uncomfortable role characterized by his lack of input.

What is dependency? 

Dependency in psychology refers to the permanent need for assistance or help. This means that the dependent person must have the support of another person, to be able to carry out activities of daily life. Consequently, these are individuals who have completely lost their intellectual, psychic and physical autonomy.

The powers of dependents are compromised. Because they always require the participation of one or more volunteers, they are not able to fend for themselves . Even the calibration by personnel begins to be an activity for which they are not responsible. Unfortunately, these are individuals who cannot adapt to a normal and independent rhythm of life.

This is a term that is usually used to refer to elderly people or is even understood as a synonym for old age . It is really a condition that can manifest itself at any age, although it is more common for affected people to find themselves in a precarious situation.

What are their characteristics? 

The main characteristic of dependency lies in the permanent need for the help of other people. This is how these individuals are unable to lead an independent life, they will avoid all the responsibilities of adult life. But it should also be noted that there are different degrees of dependence , each one of them varies markedly in its symptoms.

In the case of moderate dependence, it is observed that these people will need support to carry out any daily activity. However, this can happen once or twice intermittently. This is how autonomy can be exercised in certain exceptional cases.

The next degree called severe dependency, is manifested by the need to receive help once or twice a day for example. These are people who do not necessarily require the permanent presence of a protector.

Finally, in the highest degree of dependence, it is observed that the advice and participation of people who exercise the role of representative and caregiver is considerably important. It is an absolute dependency in which there is a total loss of physical and mental autonomy .

From a psychological point of view, dependency creates a state of mind that is similar to the experience of an addict. That is, it is generated when the link is broken or the relationship between the dependent person and his protector is weakened. This means that episodes of anxiety and depression are experienced , the idea of ​​surviving without the support that was previously received becomes unbearable.

Basically a relationship based on subordination is being described  with respect to a figure who has greater rank or power. Consequently, the dependent person has such an important personal connection that it is difficult to conceive of a life in which he does not participate. It is an unhealthy relationship, which contributes to developing an inability to face responsibilities; and take as normal the absence of freedom.

What are the types of dependency?

Dependency can be divided into four different categories . Each of them has particular characteristics that identify and differentiate them from the others. Each of them is described below:

  • Physical dependence, as its name implies, refers to the loss of control over bodily functions. It is suffered by individuals who cannot interact with their environment as other people normally do. Examples of this type are found in the suffering of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Mental or psychic dependence is suffered by people who do not have decisive qualities. That is why they cannot assume responsibilities in which they must make important decisions. Examples of this type are found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or mental retardation.
  • Sensory dependence is generated from alterations that affect the correct functioning of the senses. Fundamentally, the senses of hearing and sight stand out, these are the most used by humans. Consequently, any change that limits a person’s ability to lead a normal life sets them apart from the rest of society.
  • Mixed dependence is the combination of different aspects that affect mobility and therefore is also associated with sensory problems. They usually arise from the suffering of a disease that can limit speech for example. Examples of this type are found in diseases such as Parkinson’s or cerebral palsy.

The importance of recognizing dependency 

The causes for dependency depend on each personal situation. The background of this condition is generally found in poor self-esteem , the affected person tends to systematically devalue . These are individuals who are very critical of themselves and who consider not being able to face problems without external help.

It is very important to recognize that you are dependent to avoid rejection from others. To maintain a stable and healthy relationship it is very important to try to maintain a relevant position within the social group. When subordination is pushed to the extreme, it is much more difficult to regain credibility and trust.

The people affected are immersed in a vicious circle situation. But at the same time, it diminishes one’s self-esteem and dignity . For the person to regain self-confidence, they must set limits, and begin to take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

Unfortunately, when it is a situation that is not dealt with from the beginning, there is a greater chance that there will be a break with family and friends. People close to you will try to advise you, but will also encourage you to freely choose. But dependent people are in such a fragile emotional state and have become accustomed to this situation that they will not realize it.

In the long term, dependent people will have destructive relationships . Important aspects of the lives of the people on whom you depend are relegated to the background. Human relationships should allow everyone involved to benefit from creating these bonds.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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