Avoidant Disorder

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD)

Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) is a serious condition that has been determined to affect 2% to 6% of the general population. It is considered a fearful or anxious disorder, characterized by patterns of withdrawal, self-loathing and heightened sensitivity to criticism. Patients who suffer from AVPD consider themselves socially unsuccessful and because of this, they tend to disengage from social situations in order to avoid the risk of being rejected by others.

A person with avoidant personality disorder may use withdrawal as a form of communication or emotional control over friends and family members. Family and friends who are close to sufferers of AVPD may experience the pressure to isolate or create an environment around their loved one to try to help them escape the risk of negative self-thought.

Some of the more common traits of Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) are:

Nobody’s perfect, and even healthy people experience a few of the above feelings from time to time. This does not mean a person has AVPD. A formal diagnosis of this disorder requires a mental health professional.

  • Avoidance
  • Blame
  • Acting-out behavior
  • A worst-case scenario assumption
  • Attitude
  • Dependency
  • Depression
  • Emotional blackmail
  • Engulfment
  • Fear of abandonment

Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD)

Precise causes of AVPD are not well understood. Child abuse and neglect are most often associated with AVPD, but no conclusive evidence exists. Most people who suffer from avoidant personality disorder are by nature reluctant to seek out treatment, as individual and group therapies are likely to make them feel uncomfortable; this results in most cases going undiagnosed and untreated.

AVPD Treatment At Avalon Malibu

Because Avalon Malibu’s staff recognizes that clients with AVPD are extremely shy and have difficulty with interpersonal communication, group therapy is generally not recommended. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually very effective in helping clients develop skills to overcome shyness and to acquire new behaviors. The emotion of shame is difficult and painful – it involves complete self-condemnation, and a person feeling shame also expects condemnation from everyone else. It’s a major attack upon the self, in which the client believes he/she is utterly unacceptable to society, and as a result, they hide from everyone. Shame and avoidant personality disorder are intertwined in western society.

All of us have a need to belong. While most of us value some time alone, too much time spent alone can cause depression. The healthy need to feel accepted and to belong outweighs the wish to avoid, and this is where we can help those suffering from AVPD. CBT is most useful with social phobias and AVPD because the emphasis is on changing thinking patterns as well as modifying behavior. The Avalon Malibu staff focuses on helping the client face social situations with a goal to become desensitized to what causes them the most anxiety.

Some techniques used by Avalon Malibu staff in treating avoidant personality disorder may include:

  • Making eye contact
  • Learning to greet people and smile
  • Learning how to be assertive
  • Learning how to respond to what is said in a variety of social situations
  • Learning how to carry on a conversation

Follow-up data from AVPD therapies suggests that some clients maintain gains, and even improve, several months to years after treatment. As clients overcome their fears of rejection, they learn to make additional changes outside of treatment, where they may also discover their behavior is acceptable.

At Avalon Malibu, there is no treatment program where one-size-fits-all. Each person is unique and comes to us with different histories and backgrounds; each with different issues and needs. Our treatment programs are individually designed for each client. We use all available methodologies to make sure that clients suffering from avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) feel as comfortable as possible, and that they feel safe and supported during treatments.

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