“Avoidants themselves, unaware that they have a problem, continue to annoy, frustrate, and hurt themselves and the others in their lives. Some avoidants are isolated individuals who, unmindful of the pathological nature of their avoidance, cite, and live by, its presumed advantages, and eventually even come to believe that their isolation from family, friends, and potential intimates is a good thing.” This is a direct quote from author Martin Kantor’s book titled Distancing: Avoidant Personality Disorder (revised and expanded). This quote provides a compelling glance into the common misconceptions that many people have about avoidant personality disorder. For people who are undiagnosed, their isolation and shyness may be “normal” to them, causing them to feel as though their symptoms do not require any treatment or help.
While many people may feel shy, those who suffer from avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) feel shyness at more extreme levels. Psychology Today estimates that 2% of the population suffers from this disorder – making it difficult for them to interact socially and professionally. Avoidant personality disorder involves feelings of extreme inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and sensitivity to rejection. Those who have AVPD may only form relationships with people who they are certain will not reject them – they will often choose loneliness over risking connection with someone whom they are not certain will like them.
WebMD explains that a person with AVPD may fear speaking up in fear of criticism and may anxiously study those around them for signs of approval or rejection. Furthermore, writer and editor Caitlyn Flynn from Bustle has listed self-loathing as a common theme in people in AVPD. If a person is spending a lot of time believing they are inferior to others, afraid of being embarrassed, and isolating oneself due to fear of being around others, they likely suffer from AVPD. If untreated, AVPD can limit someone’s potential for happiness and success.
Treatment for AVPD typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapeutic approach that helps people restructure their thoughts to more positive, productive thoughts. If you suffer from avoidant personality disorder, you should speak with a doctor and/or therapist to receive help. Speaking with someone about your problems may help you to learn more about yourself and your disorder – you will also be able to develop tools to help you in everyday life. There are many people out there who want to help you and see you succeed. Take the first step and call a healthcare professional today.
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