Avoidant Personality Disorder

It is a mental illness predominantly marked by an avoidance of interpersonal interactions due to fear of judgment or disapproval, extreme sensitivity to criticism, lack of self-esteem, reclusive behavior and self-criticism.

Scientists believe that it arises through a complex interplay of genetic, biological, social and psychological factors. Certain behavioral traits are hereditary.

How Can I Recognise An Avoidant Personality Disorder?
The following behaviors are typically present in those suffering from avoidant personality disorder:

  • Fear of strangers, extreme shyness, and awkwardness in group situations.
  • Avoidance of professions or activities that call for interaction with others.
  • Restriction of lifestyle in order to avoid uncomfortable situations and interactions.
  • Inability to share feelings and remaining distant within relationships. The person may generally find it difficult to form close personal relationships.
  • Avoiding attention for fear of embarrassing oneself, inviting ridicule or rejection.
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism and the opinions of others.
  • Aversion to sharing personal information.
  • Considering themselves unappealing and inferior to their peers.
  • Preoccupation with one’s own shortcomings.
  • Inability to trust others.
  • Extreme self-consciousness.
  • Always assuming a worst-case scenario or blowing situations out of proportion.
  • Avoidance of physical contact.
  • Indulging in fantasies as a form of escapism.

Can There Be Any Complications?

  • Psychoanalytical/psychodynamic therapy – To help release repressed emotions and experiences.
  • Dialectal behavioral therapy – Helps people improve their emotional and cognitive regulations by learning about their triggers. Also, helping them asses which coping mechanism to apply for a particular trigger.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – Targets personal coping strategies to help solve current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in cognition.
  • Group therapy – Here one or more therapists treat a small number of clients as a group.
  • Psychoeducation – Explaining the disorder to the individual and the family to help them with treatment and coping.
  • Medication – Antidepressants are proved to help the patients with certain symptoms. This form of treatment is used along with therapy to help the patient(s) cope.

PREVENTION – The only known factors which can be controlled to prevent its onset are:

  • Emotional stimulation.
  • Expressive family environment.