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Avoidant Personality Disorder

A lot of people are shy or have low self-esteem, but when these feelings start to take over your life and interfere with daily activities, then it might be something a psychiatric condition.

Definition:

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) is a disorder characterized by a person having extreme feelings of shyness, inadequacy and sensitivity as to how they are perceived by others. APD may interfere with a person’s daily life by making them avoid going to work or feel unable to maintain relationships.

Causes:

Doctors still don’t know what causes APD, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental, psychological and genetic factors.

Symptoms:

With APD, symptoms are life-long, and usually appear during early adulthood. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Having difficulty interacting with others out of fear of embarrassment, criticism or rejection
  • Misinterpretation of neutral comments and perceiving them as negative
  • Difficulty believing you are liked
  • Fear of intimate relationships
  • Viewing yourself as inferior to others
  • Preference to isolate yourself and be alone
  • Low self-esteem

Diagnosis:

Most people with APD don’t seek out treatment until symptoms start to interfere with their daily life. If you suspect that you have APD, visit a mental health professional. They can diagnose the condition by asking you about your symptoms and understanding when you started displaying them.

Treatment:

There are no medications for APD, but your doctor might prescribe an antidepressant if you have recurring stress or anxiety. The more dominant for of treatment will be psychotherapy, which focuses on giving you coping mechanisms and helping you understand and identify the causes behind your symptoms.

The most important thing about undergoing psychotherapy is being patient and sticking to your treatment plan. This can help you better cope with your symptoms and stop APD from interfering with your life.


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