"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Avoidant Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Treatments, and Complications

Avoidant personality disorder is characterised by feelings of utmost social inhibition, inadequacy, and sensitivity to negative criticism and rejection. But the symptoms include greater than just shyness or social awkwardness. Avoidant personality disorder causes significant problems that affect the flexibility to interact with others and maintain relationships in on a regular basis life. An estimated 2.1% of Americans suffer from avoidant personality disorder.

Symptoms of avoidant personality disorder include various behaviors, corresponding to:

  • Avoid skilled, social, or school activities for fear of criticism or rejection. You may often feel like you're unwelcome in social situations, even when you should not. This is because individuals with avoidant personality disorder have a low threshold for criticism and sometimes consider they're inferior to others.
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-isolation

In social situations, an individual with avoidant personality disorder could also be afraid to talk up for fear of claiming the mistaken thing, blushing, stuttering, or feeling embarrassed for other reasons. You might also spend loads of time anxiously examining the people around you for signs of approval or disapproval.

An individual with avoidant personality disorder is aware that they're uncomfortable in social situations and sometimes feels socially inept. Despite this self-confidence, comments from others about your shyness or nervousness in social situations can look like criticism or rejection. This is particularly true when you are being teased for avoiding social situations, even whether it is in a good-natured way.

Avoidant personality disorder results in a fear of rejection, which regularly makes it difficult to attach with other people. You could also be hesitant to make friends unless you're sure the opposite person will such as you. If you're in a relationship, chances are you'll be afraid to disclose personal information or discuss your feelings. This could make it difficult to keep up intimate relationships or close friendships.

According to the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), an individual diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder must meet no less than 4 of the next criteria:

  • Avoids skilled activities that require significant interpersonal contact for fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.
  • Is unwilling to become involved with people unless they're sure they're liked.
  • Shows reserve in intimate relationships for fear of being shamed or ridiculed.
  • Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations.
  • Is inhibited in latest interpersonal situations attributable to feelings of inadequacy.
  • Views oneself as socially inept, personally unattractive, or inferior to others.
  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or engage in latest activities because they may prove embarrassing.

Avoidance behavior is common in children and adolescents, however the diagnosis of a personality disorder can't be made in childhood because shyness, fear of strangers, social awkwardness or sensitivity to criticism are sometimes a traditional a part of child and adolescent development.

A psychologist can assess your symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis, and suggest appropriate treatment options.

As with other personality disorders, a psychologist will design a treatment plan that is true for you. There are several treatment options for avoidant personality disorder, but they likely involve talk therapy. If a concomitant illness corresponding to depression or an anxiety disorder can also be diagnosed, appropriate medication can be used.

In addition to the avoidant personality disorder, other psychological disorders also can occur. Treatments in these cases are designed to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder in query. The conditions mostly seen in avoidant personality disorder include:

  • Social phobia, by which an individual feels overwhelming fear and insecurity in on a regular basis social situations.
  • Dependent personality disorder, by which people rely excessively on others' advice or make decisions for them.
  • Borderline personality disorder by which people have difficulties in lots of areas, including social relationships, behavior, mood and self-image.

Many symptoms of avoidant personality disorder are common with these other disorders, particularly within the case of generalized social phobia. For this reason, the disorders will be easily confused. It may take a while for a psychologist to make a transparent diagnosis and select the treatment that is true for you.