Avoidant Personality Disorder is a characterized by an ongoing pattern of inhibition in social settings, overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, extreme response to negative input or evaluation and efforts to avoid situations that would require social interaction.
Those who suffer from a high level of Avoidant Personality Disorder frequently look upon themselves as being socially inept, and do not expect others to find them interesting or appealing. They tend to suffer from heightened fear of ridicule, humiliation, rejection and negative personal interaction. Among the symptoms of APD are avoidance of physical contact, feelings of inadequacy, seriously low self-esteem and even self-loathing, difficulty with trusting others, emotional distancing and a heightened sense of self-consciousness.
There are a number of methods used to treat Avoidant Personality Disorder. Among them are social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure treatment which gradually increases the number and frequency of social contacts, group therapy to allow for the practicing of social skills, and some cases drug therapy is used as well. Effective treatment requires the gaining and maintaining of the patient’s trust as aviodants frequently avoid treatment because of the nature of their disorder. The basic success of treatment arises from the ability of the various types of therapy to effectively challenge the individual’s beliefs about themselves.
As the symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder most frequently arise in late adolescence or early adulthood, parents may not be likely see visible signs of the disorder early on. However there are studies which indicate that early emotional neglect and peer rejection can be a factor in the development of APD. There may also be genetic, psychological and other social causes, although these contributing and causative factors are not completely understood and there is little agreement as to their impact on avoidant patients.
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