What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by a chronic and pervasive pattern of distorted thought, emotion, behavior, and functioning. This type of personality disorder is thought to affect approximately one-percent of adults in the United States. Individuals with this disorder are also more prone to anxiety disorders, including agoraphobia and social phobia.
Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder typically experience:
- Extreme shyness
- Sensitivity to criticism and rejection
- Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy
- A desire for closeness with others but difficulty forming relationships with people outside of immediate family.
- Avoidance of social situations, including those related to school or work.
Treatments for Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant personality disorder is most often treated using psychotherapy. Because individuals with avoidant personality disorder are extremely shy and have difficulty with interpersonal communication, group therapy is generally not recommended. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often very effective in helping individuals overcome shyness and develop new skills and behaviors.
Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressant drugs are often used to help individuals succeed in psychotherapy. While these drugs can help those with avoidant personality disorder succeed in therapy, medication alone is not a recommended treatment for avoidant personality disorder.Further Reading:
Overview of Personality Disorders