A pervasive pattern
of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity
to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in
a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal
contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.
Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being
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
Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior
Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any
new activities because they may prove embarrassing.
or Fearful or Dependent Personality
Some disorders have similar or even overlapping symptoms. The clinician,
therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against
the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a
Phobia, Generalized Type
Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia
Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition
Symptoms that may develop in association with chronic
There is no clear
cause for avoidant personality disorder; some theories suggest that
it is a function of how one is brought up, but biological factors
are likely as well. This disorder is fairly uncommon and there is
little information about occurrence by gender or about family pattern.
and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
As with most personality disorders, the treatment of choice is psychotherapy.
While individual therapy is usually the preferred modality, group
therapy can be useful if the client can agree to attend enough sessions.
Because of the basic components of this disorder, though, it is often
difficult to have the individual attend group therapy early on in
the therapeutic process. It is a modality to consider as the patient
approaches termination of individual treatment, if additional therapy
seems necessary and beneficial to the client.
Psychopharmacology Section ] :
As with all personality
disorders, medications should only be prescribed for specific and
acute Axis I diagnoses or problems suffered by the individual. Anti-anxiety
agents and antidepressants should be prescribed only when there is
a clear Axis I diagnosis in conjunction with the personality disorder.
Physicians should resist the temptation to overprescribe to someone
with this disorder, because they often present with complaints of
anxiety in social situations or a feeling of disconnectedness with
their feelings. The anxiety in this instance is clearly situationally-related
and medication may actually interfere with effective psychotherapeutic
[ See Self-Help Section
There are not
any self-help support groups or communities that we are aware of that
would be conducive to someone suffering from this disorder. Such approaches
would likely not be very effective because a person with this disorder
is likely to avoid attending such sessions, due to increased anxiety
and difficulty interacting socially.
Personality Disorder Links