The person with Avoidant Personality Disorder feels extreme social discomfort in most situations, because he lives in fears of how others judge him. This he avoids events, activities, and other social settings. An important difference between the patient and the schizoid personality is that the latter does not have any desire to be around other people, while the avoidant personality wants friends but feels too inadequate and fearful of criticism to try to cultivate friendship. Social phobia is a component of this disorder, even though the individual with social phobia does not necessarily have Avoidant Personality Disorder.


Other characteristics of the disorder are listed below.

  • avoidance of occupational activities where interpersonal contact is significant, due to fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  • refusal to “get involved” in relationships unless certain he will be accepted or liked
  • restrained in any intimacy for fear of being ridiculed
  • sees self as socially inept, personally unattractive or unappealing, or inferior to others
  • non-risk-taker, due to fear of embarrassment

Treatment includes medication in the form of MAOIs and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focusing on assertiveness, desensitization, and cognitive change.

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