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