Avoidant personality disorder, also referred to as ‘anxious personality disorder’ occurs when one gets the feeling of inferiority, social inhibitions, inadequacy, sensitivity, negativity and rejection despite having the desire to interact with others.
Individuals having Avoidant personality disorder often feel that they are socially inept. Hence, they avoid social interaction as they fear being humiliated, rejected or ridiculed. Avoidant personality disorder leads to problems in day to day life as it affects the ability to interact and maintain relationships with others.
The causes of Avoidant personality disorder may be influenced by various factors such as social, genetic, psychological as well as temperamental. Several disorders in childhood such as anxiety have been associated with temperament which leads to conditions of being shy, fearful and inhibited. This behavior can further lead to avoidant personality disorder. Emotional neglect during childhood and rejection by peers can also develop the risk causing Avoidant personality disorder.
The symptoms of Avoidant personality disorder include:
- Low self esteem
- Sensitivity towards criticism and rejection
- Feeling inferior and inadequate
- Avoiding work and relationship that requires interaction
- Social inhibition and shyness
An individual having avoidant personality disorder can be diagnosed with the help of a mental health professional, if they display the following symptoms:
- Tendency to avoid activities that involve personal interaction
- Fear of disapproval from social settings
- Perception of self as inferior, inadequate or socially inept
Avoidant personality disorder can be seen in children and adolescents, however, it cannot be diagnosed in childhood. Fear of strangers, rejection and social awkwardness are common during adolescence.
The avoidant personality disorder treatment may vary from person to person. However, it includes talk therapy and if conditions like depression or anxiety coexist, the mental health professional may also advise to take medications.