Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia are both mental disorders that are personality disorder and clinical syndrome, respectively. AvPd is one of the more common personality disorders and about 5% to 7% of people can be diagnosed with the disorder while around 20% of the U.S. population has social anxiety with 2% to 3% having been diagnosed with Social Phobia. For many years, there have been apparent similarities on the symptoms and indication of both mental disorders with both related to having negative evaluations which can result to fear of social contact and being uncomfortable in social situations.
Some experts believe that these two disorders should be combined because of some similarities. Studies have shown that AvPD overlaps with social phobia, just as it does with other personality disorders such as, schizoid personality disorder and other anxiety disorders. Conversely, Social Phobia can include having difficulties in having relationships and dating, which are also indications of suffering from AvPD, with the latter presented to be a more severe form of Social Phobia.
To have a better understanding of these two disorders, here are some interesting facts about Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia:
Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia Explained
This personality disorder is mainly characterized by feeling of self-inadequacy and inferiority to other people. People who suffer from AvPD perceive that other people do not like them and that they will only be embarrassed and ridiculed by others. Because of this, avoidant people fear rejection, disapproval and criticisms that they prefer to isolate themselves and stay away from situations that require them to socialize and be in public. Consequently, avoidant people commonly have a small circle of friends and are not comfortable with trying out new things and risks.
Social Phobia, on the other hand, is characterized by extreme anxiety when it comes to social situations. Also referred to as Social Anxiety Disorder, this clinical disorder is manifested by the fear of being humiliated and making mistakes in front of others. People with social phobia suffer from extreme sweating and even panic attack when faced with social situations. Fear can also be in attending parties or even initiating conversations.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder include low self-esteem, isolation from others and avoidance of attending school and work activities for fear of getting criticized and rejected. On the other hand, people who have social phobia might be too self-conscious, manifesting extreme shyness, afraid to talk in public and suffer from anxiety attacks in order to avoid the feeling of getting humiliated or rejected.
Both Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Phobia require intervention and treatment. AvPD can be treated with therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual therapy, group therapy and social skills training. Selected medications can also be given to mitigate the effect of the disorder.
For Social Phobia, cognitive-behavioral therapy along with medications like SSRIs, a class of antidepressants, social skills training and the use of ACT or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This is an approach involving the acceptance of symptoms rather than fighting them, with the person adapting psychological flexibility in reacting to situations and creating balance in actions.