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Avoidant Personality Disorder Essay Research Paper Avoidant

Avoidant Personality Disorder Essay, Research Paper Avoidant Personality Disorder, (APD), is one of the most socially hindering types of psychological problems known to humanity. From the moment a person is born, they begin to develop their own identity, their own personality. Many different factors come into play during the development of one?s personality.

Avoidant Personality Disorder Essay, Research Paper

Avoidant Personality Disorder, (APD), is one of the most socially hindering types of psychological problems known to humanity. From the moment a person is born, they begin to develop their own identity, their own personality. Many different factors come into play during the development of one?s personality. Unfortunately, each individual personality may also contain a personality disorder.

The American Psychiatric Association describes APD as ?a persuasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning in childhood and present in a variety of contexts?.

When a person views himself or herself as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others, these are all considered symptoms of APD. Other symptoms of APD include: the unwillingness to be involved in activities with others unless there is a certainty of being liked, a constant preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations, and the hesitation to engage in new activities for the fear that they may prove embarrassing (Kantor, 16). Although many people with this disorder still have the ability to relate to others appropriately, that is not always the case. In some cases, a person with APD may end up living a life of near isolation (Kantor, 19).

Avoidants, people that suffer from APD, use these traits to hurt others in an emotional aspect 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 reasoning behind this behavior is very simple. By the avoidants initiating the first rejection, they are also able to project themselves away from the other person at the same time. This brings about the effect of the avoidant rejecting themself, rather than face rejection from the other person. The basic principle behind all of this rejection is the idea that if the other person is rejected first, the avoidant finds their own rejection less painful because they did not like that person anyway (Costello, 74). Most of the time avoidants reject people who would have never rejected them in the first place (Costello, 66). It is the fear of possible rejection that drives them to do this.

Another affected element in an avoidant’s life is their speech pattern. 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 (Kantor, 105).

APD sufferers have difficulty beginning and keeping relationships. Avoidants will often test others to determine whether they are being truthful in their friendship. Because they may frequently see rejection where it does not exist, the people tested tend to fail these ?tests? and then later are avoided, again based in the fear that they may reject or humiliate those with APD (Costello, 72). In some cases, avoidants may try to be a perfectionist and reject anyone who does not live up to their perfect standards. Some people that have APD 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 (Akhtar, 34). Avoidants tend to have low self-esteem and believe that they are unworthy of being in successful relationships (Long).

Experts have connected heredity and prenatal maternal factors with APD. There is scientific evidence that proves that a child that lives in a timid environment in infancy is prone to develop APD later in life (Costello, 46). Another important factor that contributes to the development of APD is parental rejection. Parental Rejection can destroy a child?s optimism, leaving them with feelings of social isolation. A common question that a forsaken child might ask would be, ?If my parents won?t accept me, then who will?? A second factor that APD can be derived from is peer rejection (Costello, 47). When a child?s friends begin to jest and make fun of them, avoidants begin to criticize themselves. When children can not turn to their peers or parents for a relationship, they learn to cope with rejection by drawing their outward emotions inward.

APD usually surfaces in the later teen years to early adulthood. An equal amount of both men and women are affected by this disorder (Akhtar, 05). According to a study by Greenberg & Stravynski, more men are being referred for professional help than women are (Akhtar, 06). One possible reason for the difference in this demographic is that society usually expects men to be the initiators in relationships with women.

Currently, there are two major divisions of treatments for this personality disorder: pharmacological and psychotherapy therapy. Depending whether the patient is suicidal or not determines how the psychiatrist, or therapist, will decide to treat the individual. All methods of treatment begin with the solidification of an alliance between the patient and therapist to prevent early fears of rejection.

Doctors can, and often do, prescribe many different types of medication for patients suffering from APD. These drugs fall under the classification of antidepressants. Imipramine, desipramine hydrochloride, doxepin, chlordiazepoxide, and diazepam are some common antidepressants (Akhtar, 02).

One method used in psychotherapy is avoidance reduction. Avoidance reduction is a technique in which an avoidant is slowly introduced into accepting environments little by little (Costello, 111). It is similar to techniques found in other types of psychotherapies. There are three main approaches used in avoidance reduction: supportive therapy, positive comments, and reassurance (Long). These three approaches give the patient encouragement to engage in what seems to be normal, everyday activity. The irony comes in the fact that avoidants are not likely to go to a support group or attend regular appointments with a therapist because of their tremendous fear of rejection. All successful methods of treatment must begin with the solidification of an alliance between the patient and therapist in order to prevent premature fears of rejection.

Bibliographies:

1. Akhtar, Salman. Broken Structures: Personality Disorders & Their Treatment. Jason

Aronson, Inc.: York, PA 2000.

2. Bayer, Linda N. Personality Disorders. Macmillan Publishing: New York, NY 2000.

3. Costello, Charles G. Personality Characteristics of the Personality Disordered. Wiley

& Sons, Inc.: New York, New York 1995

4. Kantor, Martin. Distancing: A Guide to Avoidance and Avoidant Personality

Disorder. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CN 1993

5. Long, Phillip MD. ?Avoidant Personality Disorder?. Online:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe08.html Updated: 2001 (11-20-01)

Bibliography

Bibliographies:

1. Akhtar, Salman. Broken Structures: Personality Disorders & Their Treatment. Jason

Aronson, Inc.: York, PA 2000.

2. Bayer, Linda N. Personality Disorders. Macmillan Publishing: New York, NY 2000.

3. Costello, Charles G. Personality Characteristics of the Personality Disordered. Wiley

& Sons, Inc.: New York, New York 1995

4. Kantor, Martin. Distancing: A Guide to Avoidance and Avoidant Personality

Disorder. Praeger Publishers: Westport, CN 1993

5. Long, Phillip MD. ?Avoidant Personality Disorder?. Online:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe08.html Updated: 2001 (11-20-01)

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