Avoidant Personality Disorder – Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Published on: June 27, 2022 

It's time to learn about Avoidant Personality Disorder, a mental health condition that can severely impact your life. Avoidant Personality Disorder is a mental illness that causes a person to avoid social relationships and activities and emotional intimacy. Here's what you need to know about it.

What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

This disorder is characterized by an inability to form meaningful relationships with others. People with Avoidant Personality Disorder are often described as socially withdrawn or shy. They tend to avoid social gatherings and situations where they might be judged or criticized by others. They may also feel uncomfortable when they're the focus of attention.

While many people experience some degree of social anxiety, people with Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) have an extreme fear of social situations. As a result, they often appear aloof or uninterested in others. They may also be unwilling to participate in activities that involve other people. People with APD often feel inferior to others, worry about what others think about them, and are afraid that others will criticize them. As a result, they tend to be shy and reserved, making it hard to make friends or maintain relationships.

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder

If you're not sure if you have an avoidant personality disorder (APD), here are some symptoms to look for.

You are easily annoyed by things that others don't notice. When someone asks you how you're doing or what's up, and they don't care about the answer, you feel irritated. You want them to leave you alone!

You may be wondering what the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder are. Here are some of the most common:

  • You avoid meeting other people's gaze or talking with someone who has a strong personality.
  • You have trouble making friends and keeping them.
  • Social inhibition
  • You don't like to be the center of attention.
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Extreme sensitivity to criticism or rejection
  • Preoccupation with being criticized or rejected
  • Reluctance to become involved with people unless they are confident of being liked.
  • Restricted range of expression of emotions
  • You often feel like others are judging you negatively, even if they aren't

What Causes Avoidant Personality Disorder?

The exact cause of avoidant personality disorder is unknown. Scientists believe that your genetics and environment play a role in developing this condition, but they don't know precisely how.

Avoidant personality disorder seems to run in families, so there is likely a genetic component involved in developing this condition. Your genes may make you more vulnerable to developing avoidant personality disorder if you have a family history of this disorder or other mental health disorders. A stressful environment can also play a role in causing avoidant personality disorder, especially if it involves neglect or abuse.

The most common factor that contributes to avoidant personality disorder is genetics. People who have family members with avoidant personality disorder are more likely to develop it themselves. Other factors that may contribute to the development of avoidant personality disorder include:

  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Childhood neglect or abandonment
  • Low self-esteem

How to Diagnose Avoidant Personality Disorder?

There are several methods used to diagnose avoidant personality disorder. The first method is to take a thorough history from the patient and their friends and family members. Your healthcare provider may also perform a physical exam to rule out other medical conditions causing your symptoms. Unfortunately, there are no specific tests that can be done to determine if you have this disorder. Still, some tests can help rule out other similar conditions, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. These include blood tests, x-rays, and CT scans of the brain (brain scans).

It's a good idea to understand what your diagnosis means and how it can be treated.

The first step in diagnosing avoidant personality disorder is asking yourself whether or not the following descriptions fit. If they do, there's a pretty good chance that you have avoidant personality disorder:

  • You find it hard to make friends or keep them around for very long.
  • You feel like people are unfriendly, even when they're not.
  • You feel like people don't like you for no reason, even if they tell you otherwise.
  • You think others are more qualified or smarter than you are, even though this isn't true.
  • You don't mind being alone most of the time—it makes you feel safe from judgmental eyes that might see through your façade if there were too many people around who knew who you were (which would make them know that you aren't as perfect as everyone thinks).

For more information about Mental Health Conditions. Visit our Mental Health Library page.  To understand and cope with your Avoidant Personality Disorder, get help from our Top 10 Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists who are known for providing the best mental health treatment and psychiatry services. To book an appointment please call us at (800) 457-4573 or submit an appointment request.

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