Fast Five Quiz: Personality Disorders

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 09, 2019

For patients with a suspected diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder, evaluating for the presence of other psychiatric disorders, particularly major depression, substance abuse, and other anxiety disorders, is extremely important. The possibility that a fear of involvement with people is based on a history of child abuse and neglect should be investigated.

According to the DSM-5, criteria for diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder in adults are met when a patient exhibits four or more of the behaviors below. No formal modification has been made for children.

  • Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

  • Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

  • Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

  • Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

  • Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

  • Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

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

Whereas in social anxiety disorder, significant distress or impairment in social or occupational function is a part of the diagnostic criteria, in avoidant personality disorder, the degree of distress or impairment is not designated.

Avoidant personality disorder alone is rarely a cause for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Evaluation and treatment can be conducted on an outpatient basis.

For more on avoidant personality disorder, read here.


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