Avoidance personality disorder is characterized by feelings of reluctance to socialize, inability, and sensitivity to rejection and negative criticism of him. However, the symptoms are more complicated than being socially embarrassed or clumsy. Personality disorders avoid causing significant problems that affect the ability to interact with others and maintain relationships in everyday life. About 1 percent of the general population has avoidance personality disorders.
Causes of Avoidance Personality
The cause of avoiding personality disorder is unknown. Genetics or environmental factors, such as rejection by parents or peers, can play a role in the development of conditions, such as launching Psychology Today.
Avoidance usually starts in infancy or early childhood with shame, isolation, and avoidance of strangers or new places. Most people who are shy in their early years tend to grow from this behavior, but those who develop personality disorders avoid becoming more timid as they enter adolescence and adulthood.
Symptoms of Avoiding Personality Disorders
Symptoms vary in behavior, such as:
- Avoid work, social activities, or school for fear of criticism or rejection. It may feel as if you are often unwanted in social situations, even when in fact it did not happen. This is because people with personality disorders avoid having a low threshold for criticism and often imagine themselves to be inferior to others
- Low confidence
- Self isolation.
When in social situations, people with avoiding personality disorders may be afraid to talk for fear of saying the wrong thing, blushing, stuttering, or being embarrassed. You can also spend a lot of time worrying about the people around you about how those people show approval or rejection.
Someone who has a personality disorder avoids being uncomfortable in social situations and often feels socially inferior. With such self-awareness, other people’s comments are responded with shame and nervousness and may feel like criticism or rejection. This is especially true if the person is bullied or tempted, even in a good way and only jokes, but still avoids social situations.
Social Effects of Avoiding Personality Disorders
Avoiding personality disorders cause a fear of rejection which often makes it difficult to connect with others. People who have this personality may be hesitant to make friends, unless certain that others will like it. If it’s you, when you are involved in a relationship, you might be afraid to share personal information or talk about your feelings. This can make it difficult to maintain relationships or friendship.
According to the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a person diagnosed with avoidance personality disorder needs to show at least 4 of the following 7 criteria:
- Avoid work activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, for fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
- Not willing to engage with people unless they believe they will be liked
- Shows restraint in relationships for fear of being humiliated or ridiculed
- Busy thinking (preoccupation) will be criticized or rejected in social situations
- Stunted in new interpersonal situations due to feelings of inadequacy
- Socially feel unworthy, personally unattractive, or inferior to others
- Reluctant to take personal risks or to be involved in any new activity because they can be embarrassing.
Avoidance behavior may be commonly seen in children or adolescents, but a diagnosis of personality disorders cannot be made in childhood because of shame, fear of strangers, social awkwardness, or being sensitive to criticism is often a normal part of a child’s developmental and adolescent development.
A mental health professional can assess your symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis, and suggest appropriate treatment options.
Treating Avoidance Personality Disorders
As with other personality disorders, a psychologist will design a treatment plan that is suitable for you. Treatments for avoiding personality disorders vary, but they may include speech therapy. If there are accompanying conditions, such as a diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorders, the right medication can also be used.
Other accompanying evading Personality Disorders Conditions
Other mental health disorders can occur along with avoiding personality disorders. Treatment in this case will be designed to help deal with the symptoms of each disorder. Some of the most common conditions with avoidance personality disorders include:
- Social phobia, a person experiences extraordinary anxiety and awareness in general social situations.
- Dependent personality disorder, where people rely too much on others for advice or to make decisions for themselves
- Borderline personality disorder, where people experience difficulties in various fields including social relations, behavior, moods, and self-image.
Many symptoms of avoidance personality disorder are usually shared with other conditions, especially in the case of social phobia. Therefore, this disorder can be easily confused with other diagnoses so it might take time for a mental health professional to make a clear diagnosis and choose the right treatment for you.