What Is Teen Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Teen Avoidant Personality Disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of rejection that causes teens to withdraw from and avoid people and social situations that require any interaction in which they can possibly be rejected. Their shyness and inability to connect is so severe that it often prevents them from maintaining close relationships, and it’s common that if left untreated, will lead to symptoms of Depression, as well.
What It Looks Like
Teens with Avoidant Personality Disorder are paralyzed by strong feelings of inferiority to others. They also lack the confidence and normal social skills to engage with others, because they’re so afraid of “failing” in their interaction (such as being embarrassed.) This overwhelming inability to interact can lead to obvious problems with personal relationships, as well as necessary social settings, such as work or school.
Some of the symptoms people with Avoidant Personality Disorder show include, but are not limited to
- Extreme avoidance of interacting with others
- Avoidance of social situations, to the point of avoiding school or work
- Holding back thoughts, opinions, and beliefs from others
- Strong fear of being socially inferior
- Feelings of low self-worth
- Extreme vulnerability to any criticism from others
There are considered to be four subtypes of Teen Avoidant Personality Disorder, including:
Characterized by people having an overall pessimistic outlook toward themselves, toward others, and toward life in general
Characterized by people with such strong inhibitions that they lead to occasional paranoia
Characterized by people becoming unaware of their own needs and desires, because they so incessantly concentrate on others
Characterized by people avoiding any type of situation or context that makes them uncomfortable
Talk therapy is often very successful in helping teens with Avoidant Personality Disorder to recognize the falsity in their beliefs about themselves, others, and also helps them to learn to interact with others. Teens with this disorder have such strong misperceptions about who they are and how they’re perceived by others, that often it takes an outside, objective source to interrupt and help correct those beliefs. Therapists can also help teens to deal with underlying issues or reasons for feelings of low self-worth, fear of rejection, and fear of abandonment.
As teens recognize and understand their misperceptions towards interaction and begin reforming their beliefs, they can also establish new healthy habits and practices, in an effort toward valuing themselves, which enable them to engage with others. In this regard, therapists help empower teens to start forming new healthy behaviors, in connection with their beliefs and attitudes.
Sometimes medication is prescribed to help teens with the symptoms of anxiety that are related to this disorder. This is more commonly considered in cases where people also exhibit signs of, or have been diagnosed with, Depression. Usually, medication isn’t recommended as a long-term treatment, but rather, as an effort to relieve symptoms in order to allow a teen to address their illness.
If I’m getting by okay with my disorder, do I really need treatment?
It’s common for people to learn to adapt and cope according to what they’re feeling, even sometimes to extreme degrees. So truthfully, it may be possible for you to live with this disorder without ever getting treatment. But the statistics say that chances are, you’re not going to feel better, the longer you deal with this. Instead you’ll feel worse, and it may even lead to other Mood Disorders, like Anxiety or Depression. We believe that it shouldn’t just be a question of whether you can live with it, but how well you can live. And we want you to live the most healthy, whole, and happy life possible.