Every individual has a unique or different personality; however, some types of personalities are categorized as a disorder. A personality disorder demonstrates some psychiatric symptoms that can cause serious issues with others. A personality disorder is a complex and highly challenging to treatment providers. An individual with avoidant personality disorder or APD is difficult to treat because of his or her extensive emotional, social, and cognitive avoidance . APD is a severe mental health condition wherein the patient has a lifelong pattern of deep feeling of inadequacy, distrust of others, extreme sensitivity to rejection, and extreme shyness. The individual suffers from the disorder and tries to avoid social situations or close relationships. The lack of confidence and interpersonal skills to succeed in dealing with others hinders the individual to engage in a relationship or participate in social activities. The behavioral approaches to assessments and treatments can compliment and expand the diagnostic approach, to aim the response characteristics of the avoidant personality disorders.
Most people will ask ‘what is avoidant personality disorder?’ and before someone can answer the question, they need to understand the counterpart or what it is not. Avoidant personality disorder is not just a simple shyness or awkwardness because anybody feels at times. Everyone feels inadequate or lacks confidence in certain isolated situations. However, those with avoidant personality disorder or APD are always dealing with these feelings extremely. Alternatively, they have done it since childhood and early adolescence. The intense feeling of fear and rejection are the basis of their distorted thought patterns. Thus, APD is considered as a severe mental health condition that spread through the life of an individual. Those who suffer from APD cannot control in dwelling on their professed shortcomings. If they are into a relationship, they only mingle or interact with those individuals they strongly believe will not abandon or reject them in the end. Individuals with APD are extremely sensitive from the embarrassing moment and for them it is intensely difficult to handle. They rather choose to be alone than to take the risk. Several features that define APD are the negative emotions; permeate on any situation, distress and impairment, detachment, and early onset.
Researchers do not have clear understanding and explanation of the causes of APD. Most of the experts believe that the development of APD is highly influenced by the combination of social, genetic, and biological factors respectively. Individuals with certain genetic profiles or illness that may cause changes in their appearance have the greater risk of developing APD. Eventually, if they cannot handle difficult situations and avoid others to help them, they surely develop APD. The negative emotions associated with intense anxiety, embarrassment, and fear of rejection can result in the severe disorder. They tend to have social withdrawal, diminishing ability to experience pleasure, and intimacy avoidance. Also, they permeate in all situations with their behavior occurring at home, work, and in the community. Most of the time, they have distress and impairment in their daily life activities. Alternatively, APD starts in the early childhood.
Commonly, people with APD cannot control themselves to think about their inadequacy or weaknesses. Loss and rejection are among the painful things they avoid the most because they cannot handle in facing the possible challenges. Instead, they choose to stay alone and deprive themselves of any connection with others. People with APD are sensitive to criticism or disapproval, overly holding back intimate relationships, extremely reluctant to people involvement, and avoid activities that involve connection with people. In addition, extremely shy socially with fear to commit mistakes, make things complicated and self-pity.
The health practitioners diagnose patients with symptoms of APD; they will ask standard questions to identify that it meets the criteria for APD diagnosis. If the symptoms have started during the early childhood or adulthood, the patient has the indications of having APD. The indications are avoidance of social activities, unwillingness to join groups, do not engage in any relationship, and desperate in life. In general, APD is diagnosed base on the evaluation psychologically that assesses the background and severity of the symptoms of the patients.
The personality disorders are highly challenging to the treatment providers and for the clients, there exist some issues. It is necessary to describe the relation between behavioral assessment and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM system before to presenting the behavioral view on the assessment of APD . The final and recent advantages of diagnosis are the utility in indexing empirically validated treatments. The health practitioners identified criteria and specific treatments that address the disorder; well-established treatments and effective treatments intended for the specific condition. The behavioral assessment plays an essential role in supplementing this treatment. However, this is especially true in the case of APD.
The most effective treatment for APD is the Psychotherapy . The goal of the treatment is to assist the client’s self-evaluation and suggest better ways. Also, it aims to assist the client how to function better personally and socially. The mental health therapists usually used two types of psychotherapy; Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Psychodynamic therapy is a form of talk therapy that assists the clients become self-aware about their unconscious thoughts and how the clients past experiences that influence the current behavior. The treatment allows the clients to examine and resolve past emotional issues. Consequently, the clients can move forward with a healthier outlook on life. In addition, talk therapy assists clients with this disorder are less sensitive to rejection or loss. Alternatively, antidepressant drugs may be used if necessary.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is another form of talk therapy. In CBT, the clients’ mental health therapist assists them to recognize the unhealthy beliefs and thoughts. The objective is to replace unhealthy thinking them with healthier ones. The mental health therapist will encourage the clients to examine and test the thoughts and beliefs to identify if they have factual basis. The therapist will also help the clients to develop alternative and healthier views and thoughts.
The behavioral assessment and therapy are regarded as very useful for treating wide varieties of clinical issues like APD. The treatments of APD are based on behavioral principles; varieties of behaviorally oriented techniques can improve clinical practice with regard to avoidance personality disorders. Particularly, the identification of challenging response and use of functional analysis are expanded by the diagnostic framework. Suggested treatments of APD are tailored through the specific patterns of behavior exhibited by the clients. Avoidant Personality Disorders are indeed complex and difficult to treat. However, the application of basic behavioral principles to both assessment and treatment maximizes success with this challenging population.
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