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Avoidant Personality Disorder

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

What is avoidant personality disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of avoiding people and social situations out of fear of being rejected or criticized

People with avoidant personality disorder:

  • Have low self-esteem and are very sensitive to criticism

  • Want friends but have trouble making them

  • Avoid social situations because they're embarrassed or fearful or being made fun of

  • Avoid interacting with new people or taking on new responsibility at work

  • Tend to be quiet and shy because they're worried they'll say the wrong thing

  • See themselves as unworthy and assume other people disapprove of them

  • Don't want to try new activities or take risks

Lots of people are a little anxious in social situations or when meeting new people. And no one enjoys being criticized. But these kinds of feelings can become a disorder if they keep people from succeeding at work or enjoying a normal life, or if people become preoccupied with their difficulties.

What causes avoidant personality disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder is probably caused by both:

  • Your genes (the genetic information passed to you from your parents)

  • Your experiences and upbringing

How do doctors treat avoidant personality disorder?

Doctors treat avoidant personality disorder with:

  • Counseling or talk therapy that focuses on social skills

  • Sometimes, other types of therapy

  • Medicine for any anxiety and depression

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