New Book Tackles Pathological Dependency - The Missourian: Features People

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New Book Tackles Pathological Dependency

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Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Wed Nov 14, 2012.

Authors have their reasons for wanting to write a book. Dr. John B. Crane’s is far from self-serving. The local psychiatrist too often sees patients with a common set of problems — a self-defeating, all encompassing, often lethal dependence on unhealthy relationships.

Because the problem continues to be so prevalent in his practice, Dr. Crane decided to pen “It’s Love Isn’t It, Recognizing and Beginning to Heal From a Lifetime of Abuse.” It’s his care package to those trying to understand, and deal with, what he terms pathological dependency, which is not to be confused with co-dependency, about which much has been written.

Comparing the two would be like comparing a common cold to having the bird flu, Dr. Crane said in a recent telephone interview. Pathological dependency is severe and has roots in childhood abuse. More often than not this acute form of dependency is passed on from one generation to the next, leading folks with no self-esteem to seek love and commitment from those who can’t give it because they’re often dealing with issues and/or mental disorders of their own.

These include bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, alcohol/drug abuse, schizophrenia and other maladies, all of which are also explained in his book.

In July, Dr. Crane closed his private practice in Washington after 37 years and began seeing patients in Union two days a week at the Family Wellness Clinic. He said pathological dependency continues to be “disturbingly frequent,” and that he sometimes sees two or three individuals a day who are “sick, in pain and hurting” as a result of being involved in one “poor relationship after another.”

They come to his office expecting a quick fix — a pill to help alleviate their feelings of worthlessness and despair, but soon find out it’s impossible to slap a Band-Aid on a set of symptoms so deeply rooted in childhood issues.

Children need to be loved and cared for; If not, feelings of abandonment may result. These children become adults who fear being alone and thus endure incredibly unhealthy and dangerous relationships rather than taking the risk of being by themselves.

If one love interest fails, they slip right back into another because they don’t understand what real love is. When Dr. Crane asks them why they continue to subject themselves to unacceptable behavior they reply, “Because I love him.”

These patients really don’t see a way out — they feel worthless and say they have no other place to go — a statement that prompts Dr. Crane to tell them that living under a bridge would be better than subjecting themselves to the kind of life they’re enduring.

Recovering from pathological dependency takes time and patience on both the patient and the psychiatrist’s part, Dr. Crane said. The most effective treatment is a combination of talk therapy and medication — not one without the other. For too long psychiatrists have been relegated to just being “pill pushers,” he said. A contributing factor is that there are too few psychiatrists and too many patients needing treatment, and listening takes time, but “in 10 minutes you can make a difference,” Dr. Crane added.

While he hopes that his patients benefit from his new book, referring to it between appointments for answers as their therapy continues, he also hopes “It’s Love…Isn’t It,” will open the eyes of those who haven’t yet tackled their problems and will encourage them to seek help and begin living a more happy, healthy life.

To purchase a copy of “It’s Love…Isn’t It,” people can call Dr. Crane at 636-583-1800.

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