Avoidant Personality Disorder Treatment in Encino, Los Angeles

Avoidant personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by avoiding intimacy and social contact with others. It can profoundly impact your life and relationships when left untreated. Montare Outpatient offers comprehensive treatment to help people with this condition build healthier relationships and lead more fulfilling lives. Learn more about avoidant personality disorder and how professional mental health care can help.

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What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder causes chronic feelings of inadequacy, social isolation and hypersensitivity to disapproval or criticism. It’s part of the cluster C personality disorders group, which also includes obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and dependent personality disorder. These mental health conditions are marked by dysfunctional patterns of anxious feelings and behaviors, causing individuals to struggle with engaging in social situations and forming interpersonal relationships.

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What Causes Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD)?

APD’s exact cause is unknown, as personality disorders are some of the least understood mental health conditions. However, certain risk factors can increase your chance of developing APD, including:

  • Having another mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety
  • Childhood trauma, abuse or neglect
  • Family history of depression, personality disorders or anxiety disorders
  • Genetics
  • Trauma from childhood rejection or ridicule
  • Certain temperament traits during infancy, including hypersensitivity, rigidity, excessive fear and not pursuing new experiences

Signs and Symptoms of Avoidant Personality

APD affects about 2.5% of the population and is often associated with anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder. Numerous signs and symptoms may indicate an avoidant personality.

Signs of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Everyone feels shy or inadequate from time to time, but someone with APD consistently experiences feelings of inferiority, social ineptness or low self-esteem. These feelings may cause them to:

  • Refuse to engage in occupational activities
  • Refuse to interact with others unless they feel confident enough
  • Have trouble relaxing or being themselves in social situations
  • Fear trying new activities or taking personal risks
  • Withdraw from family, friends or intimate relationships

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder

A main symptom of APD is fearing rejection so strongly that you choose isolation over social situations. Other common symptoms of APD include:

  • Having poor self-image or low self-worth
  • Struggling to form relationships with people outside of family or close friends
  • Not engaging with others or trying new activities due to fear of criticism or rejection
  • Obsessing over any criticism, rejection or ridicule
  • Feeling the need to be well-liked
  • Being afraid to speak in public places
  • Failing to initiate intimacy or social contact
  • Misinterpreting neutral situations or feedback as negative
  • Feeling overwhelmingly uncomfortable with social activities at work or school
  • Lacking assertiveness and trust in others

How to Treat Avoidant Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are often difficult to treat due to deep-rooted thought and behavior patterns. However, APD causes such significant distress and relationship issues that many people choose to seek help from mental health professionals. 

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an effective treatment for APD. It can help you develop social and communication skills, learn relaxation techniques and gain gradual exposure to fearful situations to overcome negative thoughts and feelings. No medications are approved currently to treat APD, but some are used to treat certain symptoms, including feelings of depression or anxiety.

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Types of Avoidant Personality Disorder Treatment at Montare Outpatient

ADP affects everyone differently, which is why there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment option. At Montare Outpatient, each person receives a personalized treatment plan addressing their specific symptoms, challenges and goals. It outlines suggested therapies and medications if anxiety or mood disorders are also present to ensure comprehensive, tailored care. Our primary therapy approaches for APD are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)CBT helps APD patients alter negative or harmful thinking patterns to alleviate distress and foster healthier relationships. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)Originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder, DBT benefits APD patients by focusing on validation, emotional regulation, confidence building and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapyEMDR helps APD patients address past trauma by reprocessing memories to reduce distressing symptoms. 
  • Individual therapyThese one-on-one sessions with a trained therapist help individuals freely discuss emotions, fears and wants to better regulate their thoughts and behaviors. 
  • Group therapyThis type of therapy provides a safe, controlled environment for a group of APD patients to discuss their experiences and share coping mechanisms.
  • Family therapyIn APD treatment, a family therapist helps patients and their families address intimacy or communication issues to foster healthier relationships.

Risks of Not Treating Avoidant Personality

If a person suffering from APD doesn’t receive treatment, they may end up living in near or total isolation with no friends or family they feel comfortable turning to. This can result in additional mental health conditions, including depression or social anxiety disorder, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as self-harm or substance abuse. These risks can prevent you from living to your full potential, forming close relationships or engaging in activities you enjoy.

An image representing an individual with an avoidant personality disorder

Coping With Avoidant Personality Disorder

One of the first steps in coping with APD is to recognize specific symptoms and understand how they affect you. Working with a licensed therapist can help with this. You may also want to involve close friends or family members so you don’t have to deal with it alone. 

Additionally, practicing self-care at home can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of using drugs or alcohol to cope. Consider journaling, exercising or engaging in enjoyable hobbies, including reading or painting, when anxious or in a low mood.

How Can Montare Outpatient Help With Treating Personality Disorders?​

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of APD, don’t wait to seek help. Montare Outpatient in Los Angeles, California, offers a range of mental health services to treat personality disorders and help individuals build more fulfilling lives. Contact us today through our secure form to explore our tailored treatment options and see which services are right for you.