According to the statics globally, only two percent of the population is affected by Avoidant Personality Disorder.
Some people find it difficult to socialize or interact with others for fear of being rejected and to some extent; extreme shyness could be the reason.
Social inhibition and feelings of inadequacy usually accompany these two facts. Therefore, we need to look deeper into what Avoidant Personality Disorder entails.
What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Many personality disorders assume a particular pattern of behavior that could affect work and relationships.
In this case, Avoidant Personality Disorder can be termed as a psychiatric condition that takes a lifelong pattern, which is characterized by extreme cases of social inhibition, low self-esteem and being too sensitive to rejection.
Those affected may try to evade work activities or turn down job offers for fear of being criticized or get disappointment from those they associate with.
Due to self-consciousness, they keep to themselves or relate to those they feel comfortable around them. A sense of loss is detrimental to these individuals, and they would rather resort to loneliness instead of taking a risk trying to blend with others.
Common signs of Avoidant Personality Disorder
You should not read these descriptions and misinterpret them in your own way. There is a clear line that divides between the debilitating nature of this condition and typical behavior of shyness, anxiety and being naturally an introvert. Avoidant Personality Disorder goes beyond what we are accustomed to in terms of personality.
However, you need to watch out for the following signs before rushing to any conclusions. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with Avoidant Personality Disorder are:
- High sensitivity to criticism.
- Avoiding friends.
- Reluctance to being social.
- Evading activities of occupations that involve being in constant contact with others.
- Extreme shyness for fear of not doing what is expected.
- Portraying some amount of restraint in intimacy.
- Some feelings of inferiority complex.
- Becoming pessimistic for fear of failure that could lead to embarrassment.
Therefore, before concluding this condition, you are always advised to seek mental health professional for diagnosis.
Otherwise, the symptoms could be as a result of something else.
In any case, if you encounter someone exhibiting signs that are related to Avoidant Personality Disorder. You will be in a position to tell the distinction between, for example, normal anxiety and traits that are caused by this condition.
Anxiety and other symptoms make those affected lose concentration in conversations or events, which may expose them to other people. This kind of situation keeps them from unleashing their true potential in trying out new things.
You should try to single out symptoms associated with Avoidant Personality Disorder from those of social anxiety disorder, trauma, and many other mental problems. In some cases, there is an assumption that trauma or abuse can trigger avoidant disorder and social anxiety.
What causes Avoidant Personality Disorder?
The actual cause for this condition is still unknown. It is speculated that genetics or the environment you are brought up could be a contributing factor. This behavior usually starts at early stages of child development.
It may start with shyness, introversion and avoiding strangers or new places. In the course of growth, the behavior becomes more pronounced as the victim enters adolescence and adulthood.
Avoidant Personality Disorder in DSM-5
The avoidant personality disorder is defined in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) as:
1. As impairment in Identity and Self-direction
Functioning as a result of either identity or self-direction
Identity: It involves low self-esteem brought about as a result of feeling inferior or unworthy before others.
Self-direction: It is the fear of responsibility where the person is reluctant to take personal risks in pursuing new ventures to avoid association with others.
2. Impairment as a result of the interpersonal functioning
Empathy: this is being self-conscious and too sensitive to criticism for what is thought as a negative perception from others.
Intimacy: Being extremely introverted unless there is an assurance of being liked for fear of getting ashamed or made fun of.
Pathological traits (personality)
• Detachment associated with:
- Withdrawal: Due to lack of cooperating with others for a common goal or to be precise, lack of taking the initiative in social matters.
- Avoiding being intimate: It may include that avoidance of being romantically involved with a potential partner or detaching from mutual friendship.
- Anhedonia: It explains the inability to appreciate or enjoy that which life offers. It could lack feeling pleasurable or have an interest in other things.
• Negative affectivity
This is characterized by anxiousness which in this case can be termed as nervousness, feeling tensed or panic from prevailing circumstances.
It may be influenced by the unfortunate events experienced in the past reflected in possible outcomes in the future.
If you feel that you are suffering from the Avoidant Personality disorder, the best action to take is to seek for professional help.
• Pervasive and debilitating impairment
Diagnosis of such conditions needs to be carried out based on emotional component, withdraw from intimacy, and being antisocial. The behavior cannot be analyzed by changes that take place from early stages of childhood because they remain stable all along. Anyone affected by this condition may behave in that manner regardless of the place and those around.
On the contrary, those without it will be shy in some situations but stay normal in others.
Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder:
Use of antidepressants can considerably reduce sensitivity to rejection. Also, psychotherapy especially cognitive approaches can offer a working solution to the problem.
Combining both medication and talk therapy is more useful more than the treatment itself.
Those with this disorder may show some improvement with continuous treatment. On the other hand, without proper treatment, those affected may resort to complete isolation.
They may even develop another psychiatric problem such as drug abuse or depression. Therefore, it is advisable to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.