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What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Avoidant Personality Disorder is classified under personality disorders marked by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior. People with avoidant personality disorder have chronic feelings of inadequacy, which makes them especially sensitive to the judgment of others and anxious in social situations. Although they may deeply want to connect to others, it is likely for them to avoid social interactions and isolate themselves due to their fear of being rejected by others unless there is certainty of being liked or doing something well.

How does Avoidant Personality Disorder affect people?

Due to intense feelings of fear and embarrassment, an individual with avoidant personality disorder is likely to struggle with their social and work realms. For example, they may demonstrate restraint in social relationships due to the fear of being shamed or ridiculed. Their preoccupation with criticism, disapproval, or rejection may lead to self-isolation completely and adversely impact their work or education.

What can be done to cope with Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Individuals with avoidant personality disorder usually experience heightened distress that is aligned with their desire to form meaningful relationships. This motivation to want to engage in meaning behaviors/activities makes talk therapy a great treatment option for them. Individuals with avoidant personality disorder may also take medications for their anxiety, experienced as a result of their personality disorder, but research shows that the best results occur in tandem with therapy. Lastly, the engagement of close family and friends in the treatment process is also shown to increase effectiveness.

This page is part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.