Personality disorders are all unique categories of mental health problems that involve a number of complex symptoms. Avoidant personality disorder is an issue that has to do mainly with feelings of social phobia and inadequacy as well as sensitivity to criticism. People with this disorder have trouble feeling normal around others and may avoid social situations because of their intense feelings of insecurity.
People struggling with avoidant personality disorder may cope with their feelings of inadequacy by spending lots of time alone so they can avoid being evaluated by others. Unfortunately they will often start to experience feelings of loneliness and disconnection as they spend too much time in solitude. When they are in social situations, people with this disorder may end up putting on a mask and have trouble being themselves because they fear being criticized.
Symptoms of avoidant personality disorder are often even more severe than those with social anxiety. Issues of self-image can go much deeper with avoidant personality disorder because the individual may have a distorted notion of their identity, viewing themselves as inferior, incompetent and deserving of rejection they anticipate from others. Their fear of rejection and criticism can be so crippling that they choose to have very few social interactions.
This disorder can interfere with daily functioning as the individual may have trouble succeeding at work or even leaving their house to go to the store at times. Treating avoidant personality disorder can be difficult but with cognitive behavioral therapy the patient may begin to change and improve their self-image over time. As they feel better about who they are and start building social skills they will spend more time with others and reduce their feelings of loneliness and rejection.
If you are seeking help, many treatment centers and professional therapists specialize in caring for people with symptoms of avoidant personality disorder.