Avoidant personality disorder - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Avoidant personality disorder


Does anybody else have avoidant personality disorder? I do. It's severe enough that my psychiatrist recommended putting me in a day hospital program for a couple weeks. (By the way, has anybody been to a day hospital? Did it help?) He also told me that my personality disorder is the reason why I'm still depressed despite all the meds I've been taking for almost two years now. There's no pill to fix a personality disorder. Has anybody had APD and is now cured? Or any personality disorder? It seems like a personality disorder would be much harder to treat than a simple chemical imbalance.
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post #2 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:41 AM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I'm pretty sure that I do, although not so severe. I've never been to a psychiatrist because I avoid people at all costs.

I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar. I am the son and heir of nothing in particular.

You shut your mouth. How can you say I go about things the wrong way? I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.
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post #3 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 04:12 PM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


It's been two years and they are just now figuring it out?

While the meds really won't change you into something you aren't. The meds might help you not feel as much anxiety if you weren't avoidant and talked to someone.

What would be accomplished by going to this day hospital program? Is it just forced interactions? I don't know what the best treatment for you at your stage would be, but I bet there would be a few more options to try first.

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post #4 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:39 PM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


i have never been diagnosed but the description fits me perfectly. i am getting help for my SA.. but AvP seems so much more complex to treat. i've never brought it up with my doctor.
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post #5 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


Same here I just read about it and it seems like I have that problem worse than the general social anxiety (and of course I have a bit of every related 'disorder' as well). I sympathize with what LostinReverie says about seeing someone for your problems. I see everyone on this site mentioning their therapists and psychiatrists and wonder how they can possibly do that if they have such problems with people. So I guess that's where the avoidance comes in. I have to get better with this stuff. A month ago I would have called everything depression and left it at that.
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post #6 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 01:27 AM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I have never been told that I have APD, but I know that I have it. I avoid people as much as possible. Besides this and SA, I have OCD and ADD.
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post #7 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 02:40 AM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I'm currently reading Kantor's book on avoidant personality disorder. I believe I have many of the symptoms.
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post #8 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-13-2008, 03:20 AM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I think my avoidant personality is much stronger than my social anxiety. I haven't seen a psychiatrist for either.
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post #9 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-14-2008, 10:28 AM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


^ Same for me. I didn't really think I had AvPD until I started going to my therapist..everything became really clear to me, how my avoiding behavior and mindset is so programmed into my brain. It just makes it so much harder to get better.
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post #10 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-18-2008, 08:47 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


APD and SAD are two labels for the same thing. APD can best be described as social anxiety that has gone untreated and has severely impacted your behavioral habits and major life decisions, making treatment more difficult.

Take these diagnoses with a grain of salt. We have a need for labels, and psychiatrists are happy to provide them for us, but that doesn't make them any less arbitrary. As far as you're concerned, it doesn't matter if you have SAD or APD -- the treatment remains the same. Knowing that you have the "less treatable" APD instead of SAD can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
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post #11 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-22-2008, 08:47 PM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pole Pig
it doesn't matter if you have SAD or APD -- the treatment remains the same.





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post #12 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-22-2008, 09:50 PM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


Quote:
Originally Posted by LostInReverie
I'm pretty sure that I do, although not so severe. I've never been to a psychiatrist because I avoid people at all costs.
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post #13 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-23-2008, 06:55 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I think I may have it as well since sometimes I'd rather feel safer being alone than suffer from the anguish of being uncomfortable with someone else. I also notice that I try to avoid people by acting like I'm so busy or engrossed with the task at hand that I don't have time to talk to them. I really want to improve but it's hard to tackle with weak social skills.
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post #14 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 11:13 AM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


APD is just another name for severe social anxiety. Just like social anxiety is just another name for social phobia.

Every month or two this issue comes up and after years of discussion I've yet to see how APD differs from SA, other than APD is a more specific name since it signifies severe SA, while merely saying SA doesn't tell you how severe it is.

I perfectly match the definition of APD, but my official diagnosis is: "Social phobia, severe, with generalized anxiety. DSM 300.23"
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post #15 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraShy
APD is just another name for severe social anxiety. Just like social anxiety is just another name for social phobia.

Every month or two this issue comes up and after years of discussion I've yet to see how APD differs from SA, other than APD is a more specific name since it signifies severe SA, while merely saying SA doesn't tell you how severe it is.

I perfectly match the definition of APD, but my official diagnosis is: "Social phobia, severe, with generalized anxiety. DSM 300.23"
I disagree, actually. I think you're right about "garden variety" social anxiety being more like a phobia, where in that person's case, it's the social situation that's inherently frightening.

With me, on the other hand, it's all about the fear of rejection. For me, the prospect of being less than 100% liked after any encounter feels like a fate worse than death. I feel my heart beating in my head even when I'm checking replies to my forum posts on here, and if anyone has a less than completely approving post, I take it really, really hard. I feel like nothing less than my entire self-worth is on the line with every single interaction, no matter how trivial.

I think the biggest difference between me and somebody with classic SA, is that somebody with classic SA is too preoccupied with the terrifying feelings they're going through to really care in that precise moment whether the other person likes them or not. If they try to recall what happened later, they probably wouldn't remember anything about how the other person was reacting at the time. But for me, it's ALL about the other person. I scrutinize them like a hawk, reading way too deep into every little gesture, or flick of the eyebrow, looking for anything that can be interpreted as a sign of rejection. I can often recall in searing detail the expressions on everyone else's faces, their body language, what they said, the tone in which they said it, etc. I couldn't care less how I feel in that moment. The person I'm talking to might be acting like a complete jerk, but I'm usually too busy bending over backwards to be as pleasant as possible and saying whatever I think they want to hear for it to even occur to me to take offense. "I'm" only relevant to the extent that I can shape the other person's reactions to me by acting a certain way, or saying things they want to hear. My feelings don't count.

So the reason I'm afraid of social situations isn't because I find social situations inherently frightening, it's because the stakes are so high because I feel like I'm defending my whole self-worth every time. When the stakes are that high, of course you're going to get nervous. And oftentimes rather than put myself through such a stressful ordeal, it's simply easier to avoid social contact altogether. But for somebody with "classic" SA, I don't think there's nearly this much calculation involved. They just find social situations inherently terrifying, like people afraid of spiders are inherently afraid of spiders. They aren't afraid because they've made some emotional cost/benefit calculation, it's simply a reflexive response. I don't find all social situations terrifying--for example, it makes a big difference if I'm in group therapy with other people with similar issues, because we all come in with vulnerabilities, so there's very little risk of being judged or condemned. I feel completely at ease in that environment. But people with classic SA just wouldn't feel comfortable around ANY strangers, even if those strangers were other people with SA themselves. Because, again, it's the social aspect that terrifies them, not the fear of rejection/judgment aspect.

So yeah. I think APD is a mix of factors, mainly an intense, abnormal need to be liked, and an extremely low self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which makes me deeply insecure and constantly suspicious that other people don't like me--or maybe they like me now, but if they only got to know "the real me" they would have no choice but to recoil in disgust. So, I'm hypersensitive to rejection, AND I'm inclined to see signs of rejection everywhere because when people do like me, I literally can't believe it. That's a killer combo.
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post #16 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 08:22 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I definitely do.
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post #17 of 100 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I think I agree, Halfie. Your post helped a bit, thanks.
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post #18 of 100 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I don't know or to be honest care what its called, but my inability to deal with people judging me (real or otherwize) has gotten so bad that I haven't been able to work. I am also about to start a 3 week day program. I don't know if it will help but I need to do something. Good luck
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post #19 of 100 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 07:25 PM
 
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


I'm thinking this may be my primary disorder.

I've literally been from people for years now - relatives, mostly. It's just easier for me to avoid situations where I know uncomfortable life-questions are sure to be asked (life?).

I doubt I'll ever get diagnosed with AvPD because I'm so used to keeping how I feel bottled up. I can't imagine myself ever having to explain to someone what's 'wrong' with me.
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post #20 of 100 (permalink) Old 02-02-2008, 11:50 PM
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Re: Avoidant personality disorder


Wow. What an excellent post, Halfie. That sheds a lot of light on the distinction between SA and APD. It's a subtle distinction, but it's there.

To some extent, I agree with Pole Pig's post. In my psychotherapy, I don't want to be seen as a social phobic, manic-depressive or any of the other diagnoses that fit my problems. I want to be seen and treated as an individual. Labels serve their purpose, mainly regarding pharmacotherapy. However, I've found that the underlying problems are so complex and unique that labels quickly become meaningless.
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