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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
okay, i know this has probably been asked a million times, but here i go.

what's the difference between social anxiety and avoidant personality disorder? they seem almost identical in everything i've read, and when i read symptom lists i seem to more than 'qualify' for both. is it common to have both, or do you generally get one diagnosis or the other?

sorry for not understanding... took guts to even post this, i normally can't stand letting anyone know i don't understand something. baby steps i guess...
 

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At first glance the two do look very similar, but there are a few big differences, social anxiety by itself tends to appear in childhood where a personality disorder shows up in early adulthood. People with personality disorders often present to therapy with complaints of depression and social anxiety, and it takes a long time to confirm a diagnosis of a PD.

Personality disorders are deep seeded patterns of behavior that almost never respond to medication. They often overlap each other so if you read through the diagnostic criteria for all the types of PD's and you can see yourself having several of them, chances are what you have is a PD.
 

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In AvPD people have a lot more difficult time with any type of connection with people. I think that they are terrified of people getting to know them, and not just from the anxiety. Where as a person with social anxiety will avoid situations around people because of worrying about being judged, it seems to be much deeper of a problem for people with AvPD.

As from what I know also, most people with AvPD usually had a parent or close relative that rejected them.

Both diagnosis are similar but AvPD is clearly more severe and very much more limiting on your life. A person with social anxiety can usually function where as some one with AvPD may be so withdrawn that they avoid virtually everything that involves interaction with people. Social anxiety is less of a fear of the interaction itself and more of a fear of being judged, where as with AvPD the fear of interaction is it's main component.

If I'm wrong with anything I've said please correct me, this is how I interpreted what I read about both problems. I'm not an expert.

I found a good explanation of it here:
http://www.pdjamboree.healthyplace2.com/custom4.html
 

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I'm not really sure, I don't think most doctors know either. I'm torn about what exactly I have, but I suppose a name is just a name.
 

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from what i can gather with AVPD sufferers feel an innate sense of inferiority - people with it avoid any sitaution in which they are at risk of failure and therefore exposure to themselves and others of this inferioitry.

when they are exposed to these situtions percieved as threatening they feel "dysphoria" which i read is a combination of sadness and anxiety - and it's a horrible feeling that is avoided at all costs.

i've not really read much so i could be wrong, or my sources inaccurate.
 

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The diagnostic criteria is very confusing. I dont think the label matters much except that different treatment is necessary depending on which you have. Both are treatable.
 

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I'm beginning to think that what I have is avpd rather than sa, as I not only avoid social situations, but any kind of social contact, even online ones. I'm gonna try talking to my therapist about it next time I see her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, everyone, for replying... it makes a bit more sense now.

TheContrary said:
from what i can gather with AVPD sufferers feel an innate sense of inferiority - people with it avoid any sitaution in which they are at risk of failure and therefore exposure to themselves and others of this inferioitry.
I wonder... I feel intensely inferior of just about everyone in the world, and I am afraid of them seeing my inferiority, but that fear comes from the fear that they will judge me as inferior, like I fear I am. Then again, I used to feel a bit better about myself at least, and I've struggled with depression my whole life, so I wonder how much of that might just be from depression as well... all this is so confusing, I'm glad I have an appointment with someone soon to figure out what I need to do...

thanks again everyone...
 

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perfectlycalm said:
ColdFury said:
I'm not really sure, I don't think most doctors know either. I'm torn about what exactly I have, but I suppose a name is just a name.
:agree
Sutherland & Frances (Gabbard & Atkinson, eds., 1996, p. 991) suggest that AvPD and social phobia are constructs that differ only in the severity of dysfunction. Frances, et.al. (1995, p. 376) propose the possibility that they are two different constructs for the same condition. Benjamin (1993, p. 294) notes that the interpersonal patterns for generalized social phobia are very similar to AvPD; both groups avoid social contact and restrain themselves because of fear of humiliation or rejection. She proposes that social phobia is diagnosed if symptoms of pervasive anxiety or panic are present. Millon and Martinez (Livesley, ed., 1995, p. 222) believe that the avoidant personality is essentially a problem of relating to people while social phobia is largely a problem of performing in situations. Stone (1993, pp. 355-356) suggests that social phobia, agoraphobia, and OCD often have an underlying AvPD.
The experts can't even agree.
 
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