Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder is a Cluster C personality disorder.

Prevalence

Avoidant personality disorder affects approximately 2% of the general population and rates are higher in females than in males.

Avoidant personality disorder often coexists with other conditions such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by:

  • Severe social anxiety
  • Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
  • Extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation
  • Rejection
  • Embarrassment and humiliation
  • Avoidance of social interactions despite a deep yearning for inclusion and intimacy

Diagnosing Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Four of the following seven specific symptoms should be present for a diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder to be made:

  • Avoidance of job-related activities that involve significant relational or social contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • An unwillingness to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  • Restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
  • A preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations
  • Holding back in new social or relational situations because of feelings of inadequacy
  • Views self as socially incompetent and awkward, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
  • A reluctance to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

The exact cause of avoidant personality disorder remains unknown; however, the inheritance of an excessively shy temperament, adverse childhood experiences such as neglect and rejection, and exclusion from peer groups have all been implicated in the development of this condition.

Risk Factors for Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Avoidant personality disorder can discourage people from seeking employment opportunities or, if in work already, can be a barrier to career progression.

Avoidant personality disorder can impose severe restrictions on a person’s social life. It can also prevent people from entering and developing romantic relationships.

People with avoidant personality disorder may resort to abusing illicit substances as a coping mechanism, and they are also at increased risk of suicidal behavior.

Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

As with other types of personality disorders, avoidant personality can have a poor outlook if left untreated since it is a chronic and longstanding condition.

There are various treatment options available for people with avoidant personality disorder which include:

  • Individual therapy and social skills group training

    • Social skills training
    • Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Graded exposure therapy

    The primary purpose of both individual therapy and social skills group training is for people with avoidant personality disorder to begin challenging their exaggerated negative beliefs about themselves.

  • Medication – Medication also plays a role in the treatment of avoidant personality disorder, and antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can often reduce sensitivity to rejection.

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by:

  • Severe social anxiety
  • Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority
  • Extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation
  • Rejection
  • Embarrassment and humiliation
  • Avoidance of social interactions despite a deep yearning for inclusion and intimacy

Diagnosing Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Four of the following seven specific symptoms should be present for a diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder to be made:

  • Avoidance of job-related activities that involve significant relational or social contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • An unwillingness to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  • Restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
  • A preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations
  • Holding back in new social or relational situations because of feelings of inadequacy
  • Views self as socially incompetent and awkward, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
  • A reluctance to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

The exact cause of avoidant personality disorder remains unknown; however, the inheritance of an excessively shy temperament, adverse childhood experiences such as neglect and rejection, and exclusion from peer groups have all been implicated in the development of this condition.

Risk Factors for Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Avoidant personality disorder can discourage people from seeking employment opportunities or, if in work already, can be a barrier to career progression.

Avoidant personality disorder can impose severe restrictions on a person’s social life. It can also prevent people from entering and developing romantic relationships.

People with avoidant personality disorder may resort to abusing illicit substances as a coping mechanism, and they are also at increased risk of suicidal behavior.

Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder:

As with other types of personality disorders, avoidant personality can have a poor outlook if left untreated since it is a chronic and longstanding condition.

There are various treatment options available for people with avoidant personality disorder which include:

  • Individual therapy and social skills group training

    • Social skills training
    • Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Graded exposure therapy

    The primary purpose of both individual therapy and social skills group training is for people with avoidant personality disorder to begin challenging their exaggerated negative beliefs about themselves.

  • Medication – Medication also plays a role in the treatment of avoidant personality disorder, and antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can often reduce sensitivity to rejection.
Sources PSYCHOLOGY TODAY | WIKIPEDIA – Personality Disorder | WIKIPEDIA – Inferiority_complex | WIKIPEDIA – Fear of Negative Evaluation | WIKIPEDIA – Interpersonal_relationship