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I'm sure this has come up before but tonight I was writing an email trying to explain the difference but I just don't know, in my experience. With SAD of course there are many situations that I am going to avoid, right? And with Avoidant Personality Disorder, there's obviously situations I'm also going to avoid but it seems almost identical to SAD, especially more severe SAD. So what's the difference? Is there anyone who could explain the difference? At first I thought it was SAD, but then I was diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder where I avoid a bunch of stuff. Not entirely false since I hate confrontation but i just want to know the difference between SAD and APD...?!?
 

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Avoidant Personality Disorder

"Diagnostic Criteria

A pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

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

http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis1/p21-pe08.html

Social Phobia (They did not have SAD but did have this, which is the same I think)

"Diagnostic Criteria

1. A marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be humiliating or embarrassing. Note: In children, there must be evidence of the capacity for age-appropriate social relationships with familiar people and the anxiety must occur in peer settings, not just in interactions with adults.
2. Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack. Note: In children, the anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, or shrinking from social situations with unfamiliar people.
3. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. Note: In children, this feature may be absent.
4. The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
5. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
6. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.
7. The fear or avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Panic Disorder With or Without Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or Schizoid Personality Disorder).
8. If a general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear in Criterion A is unrelated to it, e.g., the fear is not of Stuttering, trembling in Parkinson's disease, or exhibiting abnormal eating behavior in Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa.

Specify if:

Generalized: if the fears include most social situations (also consider the additional diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder)"

http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-an03.html

Heh, so it sounds very similar yeah, but little differences are important when diagnosing patients I guess... Btw these were both listed as american diagnos' as in europe it is different.
 

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With Social Phobia the anxiety only manifests itself when the person is in a social situation (or another situation where they feel judged), but the concept is the fear of being judged, humiliated, etc is only present in certain situations.

Avoidant Personality Disorder is much the same as Social Phobia, but the same fears exist all the time, even when the person is alone. The issue extends to the personality because it is all encompassing.
 

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Someone summed it up in one sentence earlier. He said avoidant personality disorder is like "assuming everyone hates you untill proven otherwise".
 
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