Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) is a long-term pattern of behavior characterized by feelings of inferiority, social shyness, and constant fear of rejection that cause issues in a person’s daily life.

Overview

The avoidance of social settings or encounters that carry the threat of rejection, criticism, or humiliation characterizes Avoidant Personality Disorder. Patients suffering from this disorder need social connections but are afraid of putting their well-being in the hands of others. Because these individuals limit their interactions with others, they tend to be somewhat solitary and lack a social network that may assist them in times of need.

According to research, early experiences of rejection and alienation, as well as intrinsic tendencies of social anxiety and avoidance, may all lead to the development of Avoidant Personality Disorder. Avoidance in social interactions has been observed as early as the toddler years. Clinical criteria are used to make a diagnosis. Psychotherapy, anxiolytics, and antidepressants are used in treatment.

firstlightpsych-Avoidant Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Anxiety toward making suggestions
  • Anxiety toward doing something inappropriate
  • Avoiding close interactions or meetings
  • An urge to be liked by others
  • Avoiding making new acquaintances unless they are certain they will be appreciated
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tense and being nervous 
  • Fear of being ridiculed or humiliated
  • Delay in making the decisions
  • A lack of trust in others
  • Considering oneself to be socially incompetent or inadequate

These individuals are extremely sensitive to even the most minor criticism, disdain, or scorn. This is because they are always concerned with being criticized or rejected by others. They are on the lookout for any indication of a bad reaction toward them. Their tight, nervous demeanor may invite mocking or taunting by others and hence appear to validate their ego.

Risk factors of Avoidant Personality Disorder

It is impossible to predict who will develop Avoidant Personality Disorder. As with some young people, individuals who develop the condition are generally quite timid and modest. However, not every shy child grows up to acquire the condition. Similarly, not all adults who are shy have the condition. The person with this disorder most likely avoids other people and certain situations. It becomes difficult for them to come out of their shell and face the world. They get fixated on the fear of being rejected. 

Diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Typically, the diagnosis is based on:

  • Detailed evaluation of symptoms
  • Meeting the clinical criteria

Avoidant Personality Disorder Causes

  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental, social, and psychological variables
  • Additional variables that may include emotional abuse, criticism, bullying, or a lack of compassion

Nurturing by a parent or caregiver, and peer rejection as a child may result in the development of this personality disorder. 

Complications of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Complications of Avoidant Personality Disorder may include:

  • Fear of socializing
  • Stress and depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Long-term challenges with social and vocational working

Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder

The therapy for Avoidant Personality Disorder is comparable to that of other personality disorders in general. The majority of individuals suffering from this disorder tend not to seek therapy. When they do, it is typically for a specific life difficulty or other symptoms such as sadness and anxiety, and they usually stop therapy after the crisis is over.

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The most effective treatment for Avoidant Personality Disorder is psychotherapy. The two therapies that may be used by your therapist are:

  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT

Therapy can assist you to identify your unconscious ideas about yourself and what is around you.

Medication

If you have co-occurring depression and anxiety, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication, but, there is no medication to treat this personality disorder.