About 1% to 2.5 % of Americans suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, one of the numerous mental illnesses that can affect the behavioral patterns and consequently, the relationships of people at work and with family and friends.
An individual diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder has trust issues in that he or she is reluctant to trust other people. This is why treating this disorder can be quite daunting for therapists. And although its cause is still unknown, there are no statistics showing that more men suffer from this disorder than women and vice versa.
What is This Personality Disorder?
Belonging to a group of mental conditions known as anxious personality disorders, this illness is indicated by fear and nervousness. A person suffering from this disorder often has low self-esteem and is afraid of rejection and being criticized by others. Due to these feelings, he or she feels uncomfortable being in a group and in contact with other people. This individual is also overly sensitive and prefers not to have close friends. He or she is also not fond of changes and taking chances. Despite having these symptoms, treatment is available for people with this disorder. This is because people with avoidant personalities find their disorders distressing and at the same time, they have the desire to have relationships, motivating them to seek treatment.
Avoidant Personality Disorder Treatment
Some doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medications to people with this disorder but psychotherapy is part of the treatment plan of a person diagnosed with this condition. This is an individual counseling type that is done to alter a person’s behavior and thinking. After getting the correct diagnosis, finding the right clinician to create a personalized treatment plan is imperative. There are several approaches for psychotherapy that the therapist can use:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
With this type of therapy, it is assumed that thinking of the patient is inaccurate and distorted, thus, the approach is aimed to treat these symptoms. Here, the client’s distorted assumptions are examined and refuted.
Since a person with this personality disorder finds it difficult to trust, the therapist using this type of approach uses empathy to get inside the inner experience of the client to help the patient develop self-awareness. By helping the client determine the unconscious thought processes of the individual, the therapist can help the client have a closure when it comes to painful experiences in the past. After this, the patient will undergo talk therapy so he or she can talk about feelings of shame, fears and rejection. This exercise, if done regularly, will lessen the sensitivity of the patient when it comes to criticisms and rejections.
These include various types of therapy which can either be with family members, other people and support groups.
Once the proper treatment plan is created, it is import for the client or patient to stick to the plan to achieve goals of treatment. After improvements are seen from the patient, the therapist can recommend group therapy which can offer positive experiences when it comes to socializing with others.