Personality Diorder Essay Research Paper Avoidant Personality

Personality Diorder Essay, Research Paper

Avoidant Personality Disorder

From the moment a person is born, his or her personality

begins to take shape. In infancy, childhood, and later

adolescence, the individual explores a multitude of behaviors.

Of all the behaviors, or personalities, the person experiences,

one of them will stick with them until the day they die.

Unfortunately, each specific personality also contain a

personality disorder. Personality disorders can result in

anxiety attacks, depression, and to a certain level, suicide.

One of the most unique personality disorders is the Avoidant

Personality Disorder.

The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)

describes Avoidant Personality Disorder as: a persuasive pattern

of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and

hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early

childhood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by

four (or more) of the following traits:

1.) avoids occupational activities that involve

significant interpersonal contact because of fears of

criticism, disapproval, or rejection

2.) is unwilling to get involved with people unless

certain of being liked

3.) shows restraint within intimate relationships

because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

4.) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in

social situations

5.) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because

of feelings of inadequacy

6.) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing,

or inferior to others

7.) is usually reluctant to take personal risks or to

engage in nay new activities because they may prove


Avoidant Personality Disorder usually starts at early

adulthood. The American Psychiatric Association is convinced

that an equal amount of men and women experience this personality

disorder. According to one other study by Greenberg &

Stravynski, more men are being referred for professional help

than women (Long). The reason for this is because society

usually expects men to be the initiators in relationships with


People that suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder

display traits such as timidity, shyness, and a withdrawing

behavior. Avoidants, people that suffer from Avoidant

Personality Disorder, use these traits to hurt others so that

they can avoid a close relationship with them. They like to

display their hostility in an ?open? manner by insulting people

who try to be friendly. The reason for this is so that they can

handle feared rejection by becoming rejecting themselves.

Avoidants reject other people first so that they are not the

first to be rejected. Most of the time avoidants reject people

who would have never rejected them in the first place. A victim

of this personality disorder is usually affected in one of three

ways. First, some avoidants put in considerable time and effort

into making themselves attractive to others. They do this so

they will at least be liked for their looks, if not for

themselves. Second, some make sure that their appearance drives

others away. Third, some avoidants may dress in the style of the

era when the trauma occurred (Long). This action obviously

displays that the avoidant is living in his or her past. Speech

is also affected in an avoidants life. In fact, most avoidants

use frequent pauses, and speak very slow, while other avoidants

may try to be ?outgoing?, possibly due to the false belief that

continuous talking will prevent death, an avoidants worst fear


Avoidants often test others to determine whether or not they

are being truthful in their friendship. Because they may

frequently see rejection where it does not exist, people will

tend to fail these ?tests? and then later be avoided because they

may reject or humiliate those with Avoidant Personality Disorder.

People with Avoidant Personality Disorder have difficulty

beginning and keeping relationships. In some cases, avoidants

may try to be a perfectionist and reject anyone who does not live

up to their perfect standards. The reason for all of this

rejection that avoidants give, is so that if they are rejected,

they will find it less painful because they did not like the

person anyway. Some people that have Avoidant Personality

Disorder even believe that they must avoid intimacy because

giving love to others reduces the energy they have available for

themselves and that they need for their own life.

Most people with Avoidant Personality Disorder do not show

the affects that the personality disorder has on them because

they think that their emotions will make them suffer from

rejection or humiliation. Avoidants tend to have low self-esteem

and believe that they are unworthy of being in successful

relationships. Along with their low self-esteem, they also are

very self-conscious, frequently lonely, and see their

accomplishments as being too small or worthless. They discharge

their affection, aggression, and other impulses by ignoring

others around them. They also like to watch television and

daydream to escape from reality (Long).

Experts believe that heredity and prenatal maternal factors

are connected with Avoidant Personality Disorder. There is

scientific evidence that proves that a child that lives in a

timid environment in infancy is prone to develop Avoidant

Personality Disorder later in life (Kantor). Another important

factor that contributes to the development of Avoidant

Personality Disorder is parental rejection. Parental Rejection

can destroy a child?s optimism, leaving them with feelings of

social isolation. A common question that a rejected child might

ask would be, for instance, ?If my parents won?t accept me, then

who will?? A second factor that Avoidant Personality Disorder

could be derived from is peer rejection. When a child?s friends

begin to reject and make fun of them, they begin to criticize

themselves. When children cannot turn to their peers or parents

for a relationship, they learn to cope with rejection. Avoidant

Personality Disorder may be the result of these actions.

To handle the causes, complications, and consequences that

Avoidant Personality Disorder consist of, there are few

approaches for the treatment of this unique personality disorder.

Currently, there are two major types of treatments for

personality disorders: psychotherapy and pharmacological

therapy. Depending whether the patient is suicidal or violent

determines how the psychiatrist, or therapist, will decide to

treat the individual. One type practice that is used in

psychotherapy is called avoidance reduction. It is similar to

the other techniques that are found in other psychotherapies.

There are three approaches that are used in avoidance reduction:

supportive therapy, positive feedback, and reassurance. These

three approaches give the patient encouragement. The other major

form of treatment for personality disorders is pharmacological.

There are many types of drugs that doctors prescribe for patients

like these. These drugs are classified as antidepressants.

Imipramine, desipramine hydrochloride, doxepin, chlordiazepoxide,

and diazepam are some common antidepressants.

Avoidant Personality Disorder is a serious personality

disorder that affects many of us Americans today. Hopefully,

people will learn more about the personality disorder so that

they can try to stop Avoidant Personality Disorder from happening

early in his or her or even in their infants lives. I hope that

there will be a medical cure for this disorder later in life.


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