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What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Avoidant Personality Disorder is classified under personality disorders marked by anxious and 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 sincerely want to connect to others, it is common for them to avoid social interactions and isolate themselves due to their fear of rejection unless there is certainty over being liked and accepted. 

How does Avoidant Personality Disorder affect people?

Due to intense fear and embarrassment, an individual with an avoidant personality disorder is likely to struggle with their social life and career. For example, they may demonstrate restraint in social relationships because they fear being shamed or ridiculed. Their preoccupation with criticism, disapproval, or rejection may lead to self-isolation, negatively affecting multiple domains of their life. 

What are some strategies to cope with avoidant personality disorder?

Individuals with avoidant personality disorder usually experience heightened distress tied to their desire to form meaningful relationships. Research shows that the best results occur in tandem with therapy. Talk therapy is an excellent option for those with avoidant personality disorder because of the inherent motivation to want to engage in meaning-making behaviors and activities. Sometimes individuals may take medication for any anxiety experienced concurrently with the personality disorder. Engagement of close family and friends in the treatment process may also increase effectiveness. 

This page is also 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.