What is Avoidant Personality Disorder? AVPD symptoms and therapy - Mental Health with Kati Morton

Author: Kati Morton

Hey everyone. Thank you so much for checking back. Today I'm going to talk a little bit about Avoidant Personality Disorder. So stay tuned. So like I said, Today we are going to talk about Avoidant Personality Disorder.

And I have my handy dandy new DSM, Pretty and purple. So exciting. And the way that Avoidant Personality Disorder is discussed, Is kind of like what it sounds like. You're avoiding interpersonal experiences, Either because you're really worried they wont like you. Or you're really fearful that they may not. Or you may embarrass yourself. And people will make fun of you and you're just really sensitive to that. So the way that it's described in the DSM is, 'Avoidant Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of social inhibition,' 'Feelings of inadequacy,' 'And hypersensitivity to negative evaluation,' 'Beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of context.' Now it gives seven 'contexts' and you have to have at least four or more.

And if any of you are concerned that you may have this personality disorder, And you want to get evaluated. I would encourage you to call a professional. Either a therapist, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. Any of them will do. And they can assess you properly to make sure that we are not self diagnosing, And we are not taking any action, Before we actually know if this is something that we have, okay. Now the first context is, We avoid occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, Because of fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection. And that makes sense right, We're just avoiding it because we don't want anybody to say anything bad, We don't want to feel like we're not included.

Number two says, 'Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked.' So meeting new people we'll be really fearful. Going out with one of our friends and she's like, 'Oh yeah, I'll introduce you to Sally and Suzie, and Jeremy, and Jessie from work.' And you're like, 'Ahhh! They might not like me. I don't want to go.

What is Avoidant Personality Disorder? AVPD symptoms and therapy - Mental Health with Kati Morton

I'm going to stay home.' Or you may fake sick. [Fake coughing] Because you are really scared, right. Number three, 'Shows restraint within intimate relationships,' 'Because of their fear of being shamed or ridiculed.' And this is actually the one that most of my clients, Who struggle with this will come to me and talk about most. Is, 'I have this guy that I kind of like but, you know, he's just getting too close,' 'And I don't know. I think he, I don't think he likes me.' And it's like we push people away. It's almost as if instead of having them reject us, It's easier for us to reject them. And to stay out of relationships. Because it would be more hurtful to us, we feel, For them to end up leaving us or saying something hurtful to us later on.

Is that clear? Okay. Now part number four it says, 'Is pre occupied with being criticised or rejected in social situations.' Now this just means that we ruminate about it. We think about it all of the time. Any situation or anything we might go out to the grocery store, We might go grab a coffee, Or anything we worry, 'I may come in counter, you know, someone might see me,' 'And I come in contact with them, and I might do something embarrassing.' And it overwhelms us so much that we wont want to do anything. Some people end up, you know, sometimes staying in their house a lot. They wont advance in their careers as well and as quickly.

Because it's really debilitating. Now the fifth context that they give says, 'Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because feelings of inadequacy.' So it's almost like what I talked about, You can see how this overlaps with a lot of eating disorder behaviour. Our self harm struggles.

As well as if any of us have body image issues. Or we really worry about, we have body dysmorphic disorder. You can see how these all kind of share certain characteristics. And that's why it's important and we get assessed by a professional. So this one is just saying that we don't like to go into new situations, Because we are afraid that we wont like, measure up to whatever their expectations of us are. Even when we don't know what the expectations are, We just don't even want to engage, Because we are too scared. Now the sixth one is, 'Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others.' And that's why I talk about it tying so closely with bad body image, And also if we listen to that negative voice all of the time, If many of us struggle with depression.

Or self harm. Or that eating disorder voice that we hear. It can often times put us down so much that we believe it, right. And that's kind of like what number six is talking about. Now number seven, and the final characteristic is, 'Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or engage in any new activities,' 'Because it may prove to be embarrassing.' And that's why I said a lot of my clients will struggle to go out at all, They want to stay at home. And they will want to not engage, Because it's really fearful.

And when we talk about personality disorders, It really means that it's extremely pervasive. It's invaded a lot of our life. It's overwhelmingly debilitating. And we really struggle. And the reason avoidant personality disorder can be so difficult, Is because it kind of isolates us.

Imagine feeling afraid to be involved with anybody. Usually the only people that my clients feel safe with is family members, Because they have been around for a long time. And like I said at the beginning, This usually develops in early adulthood. So we've had that whole time with them, Those people that have been 'grandfathered' into our live, That already know about us, right. And so, if this is something that you find yourself struggling with, Honestly, the best thing to do is, DBT Therapy.

Which I will talk about in another video and you can check that out. So make sure you subscribe to my channel so you don't miss it. And also just seeing a therapist and working with them. Something that I do with a lot of my clients is, Part of our work together will be outings.

Where we will go out into public places. And I will have them rate their anxiety. It's almost that CBT portion of DBT, Where we will take them out and I'll say, 'Okay, what's your anxiety on one to ten?' And then we will try to increase a little bit. And I'll say, 'Okay now we'll go, we've done enough work.' And then we will try to calm down. And we'll talk about it.

And we'll talk about their experience. And I will talk about my experience of it. So that we can come together, And we can kind of get a better grip and a better understanding of what's going on, What our experience of it is. And we can help to self sooth. So that we can kind of push through these limitations that this personality disorder gives us. And we can go on to live happy healthy lives. So I would encourage you to get some help. Join a group if you can later on in your treatment.

Because I find that really helpful too. And keep working with me, As we work together towards a healthy mind and a healthy body. She ruined the suit and tie pretty much for me.

'Suit and tie.' What? Subtitles by the Amara.org community.

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