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Avoidant Personality Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Subjects with  avoidant personality disorder present a general pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation or rejection. They are  generally anxious  and insecure people who experience feelings of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think of them.

Because of these feelings of inadequacy and inhibition, people with Avoidant Personality Disorder will try to avoid social situations, be it: work, school, or any activity that involves socializing or interacting with others.

The biggest problems associated with this personality disorder occur in social and work functioning. The low self – esteem and hypersensitivity to rejection make the subject react by restricting their interpersonal relationships.

Causes of avoidant personality disorder

The specific causes that cause this disorder are still unknown. There are several theories that suggest that it could be caused by an accumulation of biopsychosocial factors , such as the environment, genetic factors or traumatic events that can be used as triggers of this type of disorder.

One of the possible causes that is believed to be the cause of avoidant personality disorder is heritability -genetics-. If a direct relative – father, mother or grandparents – has an avoidance personality disorder, it can be transmitted through genes, therefore, the son or grandson of a person with this psychopathology will have a genetic predisposition to develop it.

Another of the causes already mentioned above is the environment -the environment-, since environmental influences such as parenting and experiencing traumatic events -such as intimidation or abuse- can generate psychological trauma and awaken in an individual different types of personality disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder.

Symptoms of avoidant personality disorder

  • Social inhibition (avoids being in situations with others)
  • Feelings of inferiority.
  • Low self – esteem .
  • They think they are uninteresting
  • They fear criticism and rejection, so they do not participate in group activities
  • Emotional insecurity
  • Lack of self – confidence
  • Relationships cost them until they are sure to please
  • They want but are afraid to relate
  • They look socially inept.
  • They don’t take risks, that’s why they avoid social situations
  • They avoid jobs that involve interpersonal activities for fear of criticism, disapproval or rejection
  • Prone to exaggerating the potential danger of ordinary situations
  • Others describe them as shy, shy, isolated, lonely
  • They want affection and acceptance
  • May have fantasies about idealized relationships with others
  • They think they are making a mistake so they don’t say anything
  • They react poorly to subtle or suggestive jokes of ridicule and ridicule
  • It ends up being a dependency disorder due to a great union with their friends, for example

Diagnosis for avoidant personality disorder

 To diagnose an avoidant personality disorder, your specialist will begin by inquiring about the patient’s physical health and behavior, and will  begin an evaluation that is divided into different stages:
  1. As a first step, the specialist will review the patient’s medical history.
  2. After reviewing the medical history, the patient will be asked for a physical examination and laboratory tests to rule out any type of pathology that may be causing the symptoms.
  3. If laboratory studies show that there is no physical illness that is causing the patient’s symptoms, the specialist doctor will refer him to a mental health specialist, either a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
  4. The mental health specialist will begin by interviewing the parents (if the patient is a child) and asking them to complete a behavior checklist for the affected patient.
  5. Next, it will search for disorders related to the symptoms that the patient presents according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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Personality disorder will be diagnosed as such if the patient:
  • Avoid work activities that involve contact with others for  fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.
  • He completely avoids social situations because he feels inadequate.
  • You are not willing to get involved with other people unless you feel confident that they love you.
  • The fear of being criticized or rejected in social situations dominates your thoughts.
  • He refrains from interpersonal relationships because he fears that he will be ridiculed or humiliated.
  • You think you are inferior to others, unattractive, and inept.
  • His low self-esteem prevents him from thinking positive.
  • He does not participate in new social activities in which he thinks he will take personal risks, because he is afraid of shame

Treatment for avoidant personality disorder

The most widely used treatment to treat personality disorders is psychotherapy . It is common that the excessive concern for the rejection of people with avoidant personality disorder, make them distrust anyone, it can even occur with their therapist at the beginning of the treatment of this disorder, which will make the therapy develop slowly .

Some people choose long-term therapy : therapy that tries to tackle the problem at its roots, finding its focus . People who come to this type of therapy are the ones who are aware of their problem but have not yet been extremely overwhelmed by it.

People who opt for short-term therapy are those who are going through highly stressful situations and feel extremely overwhelmed , so the only way out is to go to a psychotherapist. In this therapy they will focus mainly on trying to solve the problems of the moment, which is generating those stressful episodes for the person. Usually in this therapy once the disturbing problem is resolved, the patient abandons the treatment.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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