Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder
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What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by a lifelong pattern of extreme social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and sensitivity to rejection. People with avoidant personality disorder may avoid work activities or decline job offers because of fears of criticism or disappointment from others. They may be inhibited in social situations as a result of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Additionally, they may be preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they think they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful to these individuals that they will choose loneliness rather than risk trying to connect with others. About two percent of the population, equally divided between the sexes, have this disorder.

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder needs to show at least four of the following criteria

  • Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.
  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless they are certain of being liked.
  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed.
  • Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations.
  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy.
  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others.
  • Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing.

Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder

The cause of avoidant personality disorder is unknown. Genetics or environmental factors, such as rejection by a parent or peers, may play a role in the development of the condition.

The avoidant behavior typically starts in infancy or early childhood with shyness, isolation, and avoidance of strangers or new places. Most people who are shy in their early years tend to grow out of this behavior, but those who develop avoidant personality disorder become increasingly timid as they enter adolescence and adulthood.

Complications of Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • Social phobia, in which a person experiences overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in common social situations.
  • Dependent personality disorder, in which people rely excessively on others for advice or to make decisions for them.
  • Borderline personality disorder, in which people have difficulties in many areas including social relationships, behavior, mood, and self-image.

Don’t become subject to avoidant personality.

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