Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by avoiding social situations or interactions that involve risk of rejection, criticism, or humiliation.
- Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are afraid of being rejected, criticised, or embarrassed and thus avoid situations where they may experience such reactions.
- Medical professionals diagnose avoidant personality disorder based on specific symptoms, such as avoiding situations that involve interpersonal contact because of fear of rejection and disapproval or feelings of being socially incompetent, unappealing, or inferior to others.
- Individuals with this disorder may benefit from cognitive-behavioural therapy, other psychotherapies, and antianxiety drugs and antidepressants.
Personality disorders are long-lasting, pervasive patterns of thinking, perceiving, reacting, and relating that cause the individual significant distress and/or impair an individual’s ability to function.
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder feel inadequate. They manage these feelings by avoiding any situations in which they may be evaluated negatively.
Avoidant personality disorder occurs in over 2% of the general population in the United States. It affects men and women equally.
Other disorders are also often present. They include one or more of the following:
- Major depressive disorder or dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- An anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, particularly social phobia (social anxiety disorder).
- Another personality disorder (such as dependent or borderline).
Individuals who have social phobia and avoidant personality disorder have more severe symptoms and are more disabled than those who have only one of the disorders.