1. IntroductionPeople with avoidant personality disorder (APD) display a pattern of behavior which begins early during their teenage years, with some traits such as extreme anxiety, shyness, feelings of inadequacy and fear of being rejected. (Drago, Marogna & Sogaard, 2016). Nowadays, about 1 to 2% of the world population suffers from APD (Sanislow, Bartolini & Zoloth, 2012).
Those people tend to avoid social contact because they are afraid of criticisms and judgments from others. Moreover, the fear of rejection makes them want to be lonely rather than have close relationships, in the belief that they will be neglected due to their detached behaviors (Furnham, 2017). All of this has a negative impact on patient’s life and makes it difficult not only for them to interact with society but also for psychologists and psychiatrists to deal with APD. This paper, with the aim of raising people knowledge about APD, is carried out to provide information about the symptoms, causes and treatments of this personality disorder.2. Discussion of findings2.
1. Background information about APDAPD is one of the mental health conditions, which was characterized by great shyness, social inhibition, hypersensitivity to rejection and feelings of inferiority (Ekern, 2013). This condition was classified as Cluster C, a category for fearful & anxious disorders, and was acknowledged in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1980, according to Furnham (2017). He also stated that APD is equally common between two sexes and is estimated to affect from 0.5% to 1% of the world population, although DSM suggests that the figure was approximately 2.4 %, and from 10% to 20% of psychiatric outpatients.As reported by Ekern (2013), APD has four subtypes, as almost all people with this disorder will show a mixture of symptoms. The four main subtypes of APD are Phobic (being extremely afraid of particular situations or objects), Conflicted (confusion, being unable to settle worried feelings), Hypersensitive (greatly mistrustful, apprehensive and fearful), and Self-deserting.
2.2. Symptoms of APDGluck (2014) stated that APD initial signs appear during early years, but often seem to be normal until late adolescence. Nearly all children express some anxiety and shyness when interact with new people or situations; these behaviors seem to be normal, they only become a big trouble if continue during adulthood.According to WebMD (n.d.
), APD individuals have a tendency to avoid talking in social circumstances for fear of embarrassment due to saying something wrong. They also avoid social activities because of their fear of being criticized or rejected. In addition, there are many other symptoms that can be recognized, such as: reluctant to communicate or make friends with others, except when they are sure that those people certainly like them; worry about being ridiculed or shamed, even within close relationships; diffident in interpersonal environments due to feelings of inadequacy; feel uncomfortable, socially isolated and inferior to other people; unwillingly take part in any activities that may make them being embarrassed (Lucida Treatment, 2014).
As reported by Bressert (2017), these symptoms will decline along with ageing, as many people aged 40 and over suffer fewer symptoms.Gluck (2014) also noted that some of APD symptoms can be visibly seen in many circumstances, but there are also some symptoms happen inside their experiences which cannot be spotted by naked eyes.2.3. Causes of APDResearchers and scientists do not know exactly what are the reasons of APD, although it is theorized by a number of experts that there are genetic, social and psychological factors contribute to this mental problem’s causes (Bressert, 2017).
First of all, gene is a possible reason for this illness. A study carried out in Norway on teenagers indicated that the inheritability of APD is between 27% and 35%. Moreover, approximately 83% of these genes also have some connections with other personality disorders (Lucida Treatment, 2014). Secondly, this disorder appears may be due to the impact of social environment on people. Lucida Treatment (2014) stated that individuals who have APD did not learn appropriate skills to cope with different challenges from their childhood and adolescence. Consequently, they become shy and afraid of facing new situation and have a possibility of having APD.According to Hageman, Francis, Field & Carr (2015) in their research, many studies indicated that there is a connection between APD patient’s childhood experiences and development of APD.
A majority of people who suffer from APD experienced childhood maltreatment such as sexual abuse or emotional neglect from their own parents. The overprotection from parents can also lead to the initial beginning of APD’s symptoms. Moreover, APD individuals have tendency to be teased by their peers at a young age, about appearance, performance or behaviors. Consequently, teasing can result in negative emotions and numerous difficulties in involving in social circumstances.
As the result, these experiences contribute to risk factors that can hurt these children mentally, and then makes them become potential patient of APD.2.4.
Treatments of APDTo deal with this issue, APD individuals need to be cure accurately. Currently, there is no medicine for treating APD (Draco et al., 2016). The typical way to treat this mental condition is psychotherapy, according to Bressert (2017).
However, this treatment has some challenges, such as the requirement of interaction between therapist and patient about personal things they are unwilling to talk about, which could hurt them a lot. Therefore, therapists need to build a trustful and therapeutic relationship with patient in order to prevent them from leaving unfinished treatment.As reported by Bressert (2017), while some APD individuals can withstand long-term psychotherapy, many people go to therapist only when they are stressful, which is a common symptom of this disorder. These short-term psychotherapies will only concentrate on the instant problems in patient’s life, provide them some new coping skills. APD patient will cancel the treatment as soon as the problem disappears.
3. ConclusionThis paper’s goal is not only to widen people’s knowledge but also to raise people’s awareness about APD. Many APD patients suffered from sexual abuse, emotional neglect and teasing during their childhood, which led to numerous terrible consequences. Therefore, we need to defend children against any form of maltreatment and teasing in order to reduce the number of people affected by APD. If we do this with a lot of time and efforts, children’s future will be brighter and better than ever.