Avoidant Personality Disorder: Causes & Treatment

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Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) is a Cluster C personality disorder.[1] Those affected display a pattern of severe social anxiety, social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation and rejection, and avoidance of social interaction despite a strong desire for intimacy.

The behavior is usually noticed by early adulthood and occurs in most situations.
People with AvPD often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked. They generally avoid becoming involved with others unless they are certain they will be liked. As the name suggests, the main coping mechanism of those with avoidant personality disorder is avoidance of feared stimuli.[1] Both childhood emotional neglect (in particular, the rejection of a child by one or both parents) and peer group rejection are associated with an increased risk for its development; however, it is possible for AvPD to occur without any notable history of abuse or neglect.
Some researchers have theorized that certain cases of AvPD may occur when individuals with innately high sensory processing sensitivity (characterized by deeper processing of physical and emotional stimuli, alongside high levels of empathy) are raised in abusive, negligent or otherwise dysfunctional environments, which inhibits their ability to form secure bonds with others.
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