“Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) (or anxious personality disorder) is a personality disorder recognized in the DSM-IV TR handbook in a person over the age of eighteen years as characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interaction.” As taken from Wikipedia.
AvPD or Avoidant personality Disorder is a mental condition that causes a person to develop a lifelong feeling of shyness and being sensitive to rejection. Although this disorder is rarely manifested in teen years it actually starts in early childhood, which makes it extremely important to monitor the condition of your child throughout his growth. A person with AvPD will have great issues with his relationships and his work and organization skills.
The causes of AvDP are fairly unknown. The fact is that this is not a rare disorder like many people think, 1% of the world population suffers from this disorder, so you can see what number of people we are talking about here. There are no direct symptoms to be seen in the early years, but once developed AvPD will manifest with people being too sensitive and over focused on their own shortcomings in life. They have a hard time forming relationships and when that happens it is only because they think they are 100% sure that they will not be rejected. The fact that their loneliness and fear of rejection is so painful to people with AvPD is the reason why they prefer loneliness rather than connecting with other people.
Here are some of the ways you can recognize if your teen is developing AvPD:
- Your teen is easily hurt with disapproval or even light criticism
- He never engages in intimate relationship or when he does he acts over protective of him/herself
- Avoids contacts with others or activities with social gatherings
- Is afraid of social situations and fears he will do something wrong
- Enlarges things such as minor difficulties to the size of impossibilities
- They think they are unappealing to others or even inferior
In most cases therapy includes medication such as antidepressants. But recommended form of therapy, especially if noticed in early teen years is psychotherapy. Usually psychotherapy uses cognitive-behavioral approach, which proved to be very effective. But in the end a combination of both therapy and medication may be the best choice for your teen.
With successful treatment people start to relax a bit more and they have improved ability to connect to others and form lifelong relations. If not treated your teen may face a life of isolation and even developing other personality disorders or give in to drug and alcohol abuse.
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above and are not sure what is going on it is the best choice to contact a professional therapist or counselor and get your child evaluated. These symptoms are related to Teen Avoidant Personality Disorder, but they are also related to other personality disorders your teen may be dealing with.