As recognized in the handbook “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” avoidant personality disorder belongs to Cluster C personality disorders. These persons have afflicting tendencies that display feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, persistent pattern of social shyness, and avoid social interaction even when there is strong desire for closeness. The most common descriptions of these types of people are anxious, lonely, isolated, uneasy, and unwanted by others.
These types of personalities often consider themselves as personally unappealing or socially inept. In fear of being disliked, humiliated, rejected or ridiculed, they tend to avoid any social interactions. Their main survival mechanism is to avoid dreaded stimuli. Most of the time, they are first observed during early adulthood or puberty. Risks involved in development of this type of personality can spring back from childhood emotional mistreatment and rejection by peer group.
Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder
Genetic, Psychological, and Social Factors.
There seem to be no clear definition regarding the causes for avoidant personality disorder. However, it can be influenced by a mix of genetic, psychological and social factors. So partly, it can be inherited from parents or grandparents with similar avoidant personality behavior. Likewise, it can be psychological in nature, which means that a person may have already this type of disorder that can be counted way back from childhood. At the same time, this may have developed from repeated rejection from peers during childhood or early adulthood.
Behavioral Inhibition Temperament.
Different anxiety symptoms in adolescence and childhood can be linked to behavioral inhibition, such as characteristics of being fearful, shy, and withdrawn in certain conditions. Characteristics inherited may provide a genetic tendency concerning avoidant personality disorder. The risks for developing this disorder can even be intensified with peer group rejection and emotional neglect during childhood.
Uncertainty Whoever Develops Such a Disorder.
Nobody can ever determine who will develop the avoidant personality disorder. It is important to note that such people are typically very introverted when they were just kids. However, not all shy kids can develop the disorder. At the same time, not all adults who are very shy may have the disorder too. Nevertheless, if you have an avoidant personality disorder, you may intensify your shyness as you get older. At some point, you will begin to avoid certain situations and people.
Outlook for Individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder
There is a tendency that people with avoidant personality will isolate themselves if left untreated. Thus, they will continue to develop additional disorders psychiatrically. Such will include agoraphobia, depression, and substance abuse problems.
Treatment, however, will not be able to change the personality. Shyness will always be there and it will cause some difficulty when handling social interactions as well as work-related relations. The good thing is that treatment can alleviate the symptoms and will help patients to develop their ability to communicate to others.
There is no proven treatment for personality disorders that has been approved so far by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Nevertheless, antidepressant medications can be prescribed by doctors for anxiety or depression that is co-occurring.