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Avoidant Personality Disorder (Not to be confused with Antisocial Personality Disorder)

Signs and symptoms:

Those with this disorder may often choose jobs of isolation so that they do not have to interact with the public regularly, due to their anxiety and fear of embarrassing themselves in front of others. Some afflicted by this disorder may fantasize about idealized, accepting, and affectionate relationships, due to their desire to belong. They often feel themselves unworthy of the relationships they desire, so they shame themselves from ever attempting the relationship. People with avoidant personality disorder are preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these individuals will choose to be alone rather than risk trying to connect with others. They often view themselves with contempt, while showing an increased inability to identify traits within themselves that are generally considered as positive within their societies. Childhood emotional neglect—in particular, the rejection of a child by one or both parents—has been associated with an increased risk for the development of AvPD, as well as rejection by peers.

Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism; Self-imposed social isolation; Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, though the person feels a strong desire for close relationships; Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus; Feelings of inadequacy; Severe low self-esteem; Self-loathing; Mistrust of others; Emotional distancing related to intimacy; Highly self-conscious; Self-critical about their problems relating to others; Problems in occupational functioning; Lonely self-perception, although others may find the relationship with them meaningful;Feeling inferior to others; In some extreme cases, agoraphobia; Uses fantasy as a form of escapism to interrupt painful thoughts

American Psychiatric Association

The DSM-5 also has an Avoidant Personality Disorder diagnosis. It refers to a widespread pattern of inhibition around people, feeling inadequate and being very sensitive to negative evaluation. Symptoms begin by early adulthood and occur in a range of situations. Four of seven specific symptoms should be present, which are the following:

Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

Is unusually reluctant to take personal risk or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Millon's subtypes - includes: "Blocks or fragments self awareness; discards painful images and memories; casts away untenable thoughts and impulses; ultimately jettisons self (suicidal)."