Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Personality Disorder Leading to Injury

The injured worker can be expected to have the full range of personality disorders seen among all people, although there are data that personality disorders themselves may be more prevalent among injured workers. The hypothesis is that some personality disorders can contribute to inattentiveness or other factors that lead to vulnerability to injury.

There are two personality disorders that I often find in those injured workers who do not seem to respond to medical care as quickly as other patients: the avoidant personality and the dependent personality. Both are described many places, including my website, but here is a thumbnail sketch:

Avoidant Personality Disorder is characterized by fears of criticism and disapproval. The person mobilizes all resources to insure that they are not rejected and are preoccupied with the fears/thoughts of rejection. Likely, for some individuals this spontaneously subsides when successful experiences occur. Dependent Personality Disorder refers to those individuals who feel helpless when left alone, fear that they will not be able to care for themselves, and such individuals will seek another relationship as soon as the one they are in ends. Such persons may have difficulty making everyday decisions without seeking advice from others. They seek someone to assume responsibility for all major areas of their life.

Individually or in combination, the dependent-avoidant individual, fearing yet expecting rejection, will seek advice from inappropriate sources and fail to ask meaningful questions or provide data that they feel may be unwanted by their physicians. Obviously, it is important to recognize those patients, and to insure that those personality traits do not obstruct their access to appropriate care.”

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