From the moment a person is born, his or her personalitybegins to take shape. In infancy, childhood, and lateradolescence, the individual explores a multitude of behaviors. Of all the behaviors, or personalities, the person experiences,one of them will stick with them until the day they die. Unfortunately, each specific personality also contain apersonality disorder. Personality disorders can result inanxiety attacks, depression, and to a certain level, suicide.
One of the most unique personality disorders is the AvoidantPersonality Disorder. The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)describes Avoidant Personality Disorder as: a persuasive patternof social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, andhypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by earlychildhood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated byfour (or more) of the following traits:1. ) avoids occupational activities that involvesignificant interpersonal contact because of fears ofcriticism, disapproval, or rejection2. ) is unwilling to get involved with people unlesscertain of being liked3.Order now
) shows restraint within intimate relationshipsbecause of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed4. ) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected insocial situations5. ) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations becauseof feelings of inadequacy6. ) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing,or inferior to others7. ) is usually reluctant to take personal risks or toengage in nay new activities because they may proveembarrassingAvoidant Personality Disorder usually starts at earlyadulthood. The American Psychiatric Association is convincedthat an equal amount of men and women experience this personalitydisorder.
According to one other study by Greenberg &Stravynski, more men are being referred for professional helpthan women (Long). The reason for this is because societyusually expects men to be the initiators in relationships withwomen. People that suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorderdisplay traits such as timidity, shyness, and a withdrawingbehavior. Avoidants, people that suffer from AvoidantPersonality Disorder, use these traits to hurt others so thatthey can avoid a close relationship with them. They like todisplay their hostility in an ?open? manner by insulting peoplewho try to be friendly. The reason for this is so that they canhandle feared rejection by becoming rejecting themselves.
Avoidants reject other people first so that they are not thefirst to be rejected. Most of the time avoidants reject peoplewho would have never rejected them in the first place. A victimof this personality disorder is usually affected in one of threeways. First, some avoidants put in considerable time and effortinto making themselves attractive to others.
They do this sothey will at least be liked for their looks, if not forthemselves. Second, some make sure that their appearance drivesothers away. Third, some avoidants may dress in the style of theera when the trauma occurred (Long). This action obviouslydisplays that the avoidant is living in his or her past.
Speechis also affected in an avoidants life. In fact, most avoidantsuse frequent pauses, and speak very slow, while other avoidantsmay try to be ?outgoing?, possibly due to the false belief thatcontinuous talking will prevent death, an avoidants worst fear(Kantor). Avoidants often test others to determine whether or not theyare being truthful in their friendship. Because they mayfrequently see rejection where it does not exist, people willtend to fail these ?tests? and then later be avoided because theymay reject or humiliate those with Avoidant Personality Disorder. People with Avoidant Personality Disorder have difficultybeginning and keeping relationships.
In some cases, avoidantsmay try to be a perfectionist and reject anyone who does not liveup to their perfect standards. The reason for all of thisrejection that avoidants give, is so that if they are rejected,they will find it less painful because they did not like theperson anyway. Some people that have Avoidant PersonalityDisorder even believe that they must avoid intimacy becausegiving love to others reduces the energy they have available forthemselves and that they need for their own life. Most people with Avoidant Personality Disorder do not showthe affects that the personality disorder has on them becausethey think that their emotions will make them suffer fromrejection or humiliation. Avoidants tend to have low self-esteemand believe that they are unworthy of being in successfulrelationships. Along with their low self-esteem, they also arevery self-conscious, frequently lonely, and see theiraccomplishments as being too small or worthless.
They dischargetheir affection, aggression, and other impulses by ignoringothers around them. They also like to watch television anddaydream to escape from reality (Long). Experts believe that heredity and prenatal maternal factorsare connected with Avoidant Personality Disorder. There isscientific evidence that proves that a child that lives in atimid environment in infancy is prone to develop AvoidantPersonality Disorder later in life (Kantor). Another importantfactor that contributes to the development of AvoidantPersonality Disorder is parental rejection.
Parental Rejectioncan destroy a child’s optimism, leaving them with feelings ofsocial isolation. A common question that a rejected child mightask would be, for instance, ?If my parents won’t accept me, thenwho will?? A second factor that Avoidant Personality Disordercould be derived from is peer rejection. When a child’s friendsbegin to reject and make fun of them, they begin to criticizethemselves. When children cannot turn to their peers or parentsfor a relationship, they learn to cope with rejection. AvoidantPersonality Disorder may be the result of these actions.
To handle the causes, complications, and consequences thatAvoidant Personality Disorder consist of, there are fewapproaches for the treatment of this unique personality disorder. Currently, there are two major types of treatments forpersonality disorders: psychotherapy and pharmacologicaltherapy. Depending whether the patient is suicidal or violentdetermines how the psychiatrist, or therapist, will decide totreat the individual. One type practice that is used inpsychotherapy is called avoidance reduction.
It is similar tothe other techniques that are found in other psychotherapies. There are three approaches that are used in avoidance reduction:supportive therapy, positive feedback, and reassurance. Thesethree approaches give the patient encouragement. The other majorform of treatment for personality disorders is pharmacological. There are many types of drugs that doctors prescribe for patientslike these. These drugs are classified as antidepressants.
Imipramine, desipramine hydrochloride, doxepin, chlordiazepoxide,and diazepam are some common antidepressants. Avoidant Personality Disorder is a serious personalitydisorder that affects many of us Americans today. Hopefully,people will learn more about the personality disorder so thatthey can try to stop Avoidant Personality Disorder from happeningearly in his or her or even in their infants lives. I hope thatthere will be a medical cure for this disorder later in life.