Avoidant Personality Disorder From the moment a person is born, his or her personality begins to take shape. In infancy, childhood, and later adolescence, the individual explores a multitude of behaviors. Of all the behaviors, or personalities, the person experiences, one of them will stick with them until the day they die. Unfortunately, each specific personality also contain a personality disorder. Personality disorders can result in anxiety attacks, depression, and to a certain level, suicide. One of the most unique personality disorders is the Avoidant Personality Disorder.
The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) describes Avoidant Personality Disorder as: a persuasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early childhood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following traits: 1.) avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection 2.) is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked 3.) shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed 4.) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations 5.) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy 6.) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others 7.) is usually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in nay new activities because they may prove embarrassing Avoidant Personality Disorder usually starts at early adulthood. The American Psychiatric Association is convinced that an equal amount of men and women experience this personality disorder. According to one other study by Greenberg & Stravynski, more men are being referred for professional help than women (Long). The reason for this is because society usually expects men to be the initiators in relationships with women. People that suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder display traits such as timidity, shyness, and a withdrawing behavior. Avoidants, people that suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, use these traits to hurt others so that they can avoid a close relationship with them. They like to display their hostility in an open manner by insulting people who try to be friendly.
The reason for this is so that they can handle feared rejection by becoming rejecting themselves. Avoidants reject other people first so that they are not the first to be rejected. Most of the time avoidants reject people who would have never rejected them in the first place. A victim of this personality disorder is usually affected in one of three ways. First, some avoidants put in considerable time and effort into making themselves attractive to others.
They do this so they will at least be liked for their looks, if not for themselves. Second, some make sure that their appearance drives others away. Third, some avoidants may dress in the style of the era when the trauma occurred (Long). This action obviously displays that the avoidant is living in his or her past. Speech is also affected in an avoidants life.
In fact, most avoidants use frequent pauses, and speak very slow, while other avoidants may try to be outgoing, possibly due to the false belief that continuous talking will prevent death, an avoidants worst fear (Kantor). Avoidants often test others to determine whether or not they are being truthful in their friendship. Because they may frequently see rejection where it does not exist, people will tend to fail these tests and then later be avoided because they may reject or humiliate those with Avoidant Personality Disorder. People with Avoidant Personality Disorder have difficulty beginning and keeping relationships. In some cases, avoidants may try to be a perfectionist and reject anyone who does not live up to their perfect standards.
The reason for all of this rejection that avoidants give, is so that if they are rejected, they will find it less painful because they did not like the person anyway. Some people that have Avoidant Personality Disorder even believe that they must avoid intimacy because giving love to others reduces the energy they have available for themselves and that they need for their own life. Most people with Avoidant Personality Disorder do not show the affects that the personality disorder has on them because they think that their emotions will make them suffer from rejection or humiliation. Avoidants tend to have low self-esteem and believe that they are unworthy of being in successful relationships. Along with their low self-esteem, they also are very self-conscious, frequently lonely, and see their accomplishments as being too small or worthless. They discharge their affection, aggression, and other impulses by ignoring others around them.
They also like to watch television and daydream to escape from reality (Long). Experts believe that heredity and prenatal maternal factors are connected with Avoidant Personality Disorder. There is scientific evidence that proves that a child that lives in a timid environment in infancy is prone to develop Avoidant Personality Disorder later in life (Kantor). Another important factor that contributes to the development of Avoidant Personality Disorder is parental rejection. Parental Rejection can destroy a childs optimism, leaving them with feelings of social isolation. A common question that a rejected child might ask would be, for instance, If my parents wont accept me, then who will? A second factor that Avoidant Personality Disorder could be derived from is peer rejection.
When a childs friends begin to reject and make fun of them, they begin to criticize themselves. When children cannot turn to their peers or parents for a relationship, they learn to cope with rejection. Avoidant Personality Disorder may be the result of these actions. To handle the causes, complications, and consequences that Avoidant Personality Disorder consist of, there are few approaches for the treatment of this unique personality disorder. Currently, there are two major types of treatments for personality disorders: psychotherapy and pharmacological therapy.
Depending whether the patient is suicidal or violent determines how the psychiatrist, or therapist, will decide to treat the individual. One type practice that is used in psychotherapy is called avoidance reduction. It is similar to the other techniques that are found in other psychotherapies. There are three approaches that are used in avoidance reduction: supportive therapy, positive feedback, and reassurance. These three approaches give the patient encouragement. The other major form of treatment for personality disorders is pharmacological. There are many types of drugs that doctors prescribe for patients like these.
These drugs are classified as antidepressants. Imipramine, desipramine hydrochloride, doxepin, chlordiazepoxide, and diazepam are some common antidepressants. Avoidant Personality Disorder is a serious personality disorder that affects many of us Americans today. Hopefully, people will learn more about the personality disorder so that they can try to stop Avoidant Personality Disorder from happening early in his or her or even in their infants lives. I hope that there will be a medical cure for this disorder later in life.