Avoidant Personality Disorder is one of the most common of the many different types of Personality Disorders. It is characterized by the person suffering from it have a very low self-esteem, usually because of past failures. They often have problems relating to others and tend to view life as a constant conflict between themselves and their needs and the needs of others. Their need for approval is at an all time high, which can often be destructive to relationships.
Avoidants can have a variety of reasons for being antisocial. They may have been abused as a child and now carry the scars. They may be ashamed of their original self and unwilling to accept changes. Or they may be born this way and just find it difficult to let go of old habits. They may feel trapped in a relationship because of this. Sometimes just being aware of this fact can help them move on.
The main problem with an avoidant personality is that they often clung to the idea of their own helplessness and so avoided all responsibility. They felt they had to live a sheltered life, doing their own thing and not seeking the approval of others. Others would label them as moody and needy. They would not like to be involved in any group work because their colleagues would either think they were stupid or would think they were lazy.
As adults their avoidant personality often takes control and they become highly focused on goals and targets. They are very detail oriented and are often exacting in what they expect from others. This can also lead to the avoidance of groups and activities. They may start to isolate themselves. Other people may begin to look down on them and that can bring even more stress and embarrassment to them.
There is a large amount of research regarding how to treat avoidant personality disorder. Some medications do seem to help but most studies have shown little or no effect. It seems that in order for the medication to have an effect it must be a type of stimulant and it must also have a strong calming effect. The other option is a form of therapy which can help the person to understand their fears and help them develop skills to deal with them. Psychotherapy is one of the most successful ways of treating this type of personality disorder.
In order to treat an avoidant personality disorder a psychiatrist may use several different approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a highly regarded approach which helps patients learn to recognize their own reactions to negative events and to take control. It teaches the person suffering from APD to monitor their thoughts and feelings and to use positive statements and actions to replace the negative ones. The therapist will teach the patient to make rational decisions about important issues such as employment or romantic relationships. They may teach them to resist the urge to procrastinate and not to rely on too much organizational skills.
A psychiatrist may choose to prescribe anti-depressants or mood stabilizers in order to treat avoidant personality disorder. These drugs act on the central nervous system and help to balance moods. They are sometimes available in low dosages and some patients may need to take them daily. Another effective treatment for this personality disorder is therapy that teaches the patient how to identify negative thoughts and how to replace them with realistic positive thoughts. The anti-anxiety medication is also often used to treat this personality type.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective when used properly. Many people who suffer from avoidant personality disorder find that once they learn how to recognize their own negative reactions and how to change them, life begins to improve. This therapy can be very helpful for people who don't know how to deal with their anxieties and they can begin to feel more at ease.