Being shy is entirely normal, but when it causes you to avoid all social contact, then help is required. Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) is a chronic disorder that can cause people to evade social interaction due to the fear of ridicule. Discover the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder and how it can be effectively treated.
What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Avoidant personality disorder is one of ten different personality disorders. Each personality disorder has set criteria that must be filled in in order to receive a diagnosis. Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by having an extreme fear of being rejected or considered foolish or inadequate. As a result, a person with AVPD will avoid participating in social events and personal relationships despite wanting to have normal connections.
Although AVPD was once considered part of social anxiety disorder (SAD), further research has proven that the two mental disorders are entirely separate and only occasionally coincide. According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), less than three percent of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder.
While some assumptions may differ, there so far is no distinct difference in prevalence between men and women. Avoidance personality disorder can develop as early as childhood and only begin to cause conflict for individuals in their teens. Most research concludes that a child’s environment and early relationships can cause a greater chance of acquiring AVPD, rather than genetic history.
Signs & Symptoms of AVPD
The severity of symptoms for avoidant personality disorder can vary from minor to extremely high. Aside from a preference for isolation and fear of rejection, some symptoms of avoidant personality disorder include:
- Avoiding social or professional activities that need social interaction
- Expecting criticism and rejection and being extremely sensitive to it
- Continuously worrying about being “found out” and rejected with a fear of mockery from others
- Avoiding friendships, relationships, and intimacy out of fear of being rejected
- Feeling inferior to others and isolated from society
- Avoiding trying new things out for fear of embarrassing oneself
- They are hypersensitive to criticism or disapproval
A healthcare professional will conduct a thorough medical history and physical examination to start an assessment if symptoms are present. Despite the fact that there are no particular laboratory tests to identify personality disorders, the doctor may nevertheless utilize a variety of diagnostic procedures to rule out physical sickness as the source of the symptoms.
Treatment for Avoidant Personality Disorder
While treatment for avoidant personality disorder can vary, the process may include a combination of therapy and medications. Prescriptions for anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety medications are possible. Meanwhile, psychotherapy is thought to be a major benefactor in the treatment of avoidant personality disorder.
At Avalon Malibu, we understand that those with AVPD are extremely shy, and we would never recommend group therapy. Doing so could cause a negative reaction in those with avoidant personality disorder and lead them to quit treatment. In order to continue motivation, we offer cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat those with AVPD.
Due to the focus on altering thought processes as well as behavior, CBT is most effective for treating AVPD and social phobias. Our staff at Avalon Malibu will treat avoidant personality disorder with some of the following techniques:
- Making eye contact
- Learning to greet others and introduce themselves
- Practice being proactive
- Understanding how to converse with others in various social scenarios
- Comprehend how to carry on a conversation
A Desire to Change
We all want to be accepted. While most of us cherish our alone time, spending too much time alone might lead to unhappiness, anxiety, and even substance abuse. A healthy urge to be accepted and to belong overrides the need to avoid, and this is where we may assist those with avoidant personality disorder. The Avalon Malibu team concentrates on assisting clients in confronting social situations in order to desensitize them to what gives them the greatest fear.
While this is a lifelong disorder, treatment can significantly help those with AVPD in building relationships. However, the effectiveness of the treatment and therapy relies on the person’s desire to change. Without motivation to alter negative thoughts and behaviors, a person will likely be unable to change or stop their symptoms. That’s why it’s recommended that those in AVPD treatment have the support of their family and friends to keep them motivated.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment regimen at Avalon Malibu. Each person is unique and comes to us with their own history and experiences, as well as their own set of difficulties and conditions. Our therapy plans are tailored to each individual client. We employ all available approaches to ensure that clients struggling with avoidant personality disorder feel as secure and supported as possible throughout their healing journey.
If you live with AVPD, our compassionate staff is ready to help you take control of your life. It’s never too late. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, state-licensed mental health and drug addiction treatment facility in Malibu, California. At our first-class Malibu facilities, you can learn how to fight against avoidant personality disorder and begin with a fresh start. With multiple therapeutic activities available at Avalon Malibu, you can trust that you’re receiving the best care possible. Call us now at (844) 857-5992 for a stress-free consultation if you are ready to seek therapy to build the tools you need to conquer life’s problems and be on the path to happiness, health, and well-being.