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Independent or Avoidant? 5 Signs You May Have Avoidant Personality Disorder

If you would rather stay at home and binge a Netflix series than go out for drinks with work colleagues, you aren’t alone. Many people prefer low-key, solitary activities to social ones. While socializing is a must to combat isolation and depression, many of us find it stressful and challenging. A little stress before meeting new people or going to a party is fine, but what if social anxiety creates a mental health disorder that enables avoidance behavior?

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While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying solitary activities and independence away from a group setting, there is a fine line between introversion and avoidance. So, how do you know if you are just an introverted, low-key individual or are suffering from an Avoidant Personality Disorder? Here is what to know about APD, as well as the top associated symptoms.

What is APD?

Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) is not just about having an introverted personality. It is a diagnosed mental health condition that stems from a deep inherent distrust of social situations and oneself. At the root of the condition is a fear of being judged as inadequate by others. Interestingly enough, both introverts and extroverts can suffer from APD, though only 2.5% of total individuals have the condition. Some extroverts portray social behavior as a defense mechanism to hide their anxiety from others.

The good news is that most individuals who have this personality disorder are aware of their condition, and have a strong urge to treat it immediately. This sense of urgency ensures a high success rate during treatment, as long as the patient does the work to improve his/her condition.

Those who go untreated risk an increase in loneliness, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The sense of “not fitting in” can impact one’s mental health and physical well-being. Because many APD sufferers correlate their feelings to being judged early on in childhood (by a parent or peer), the habit of avoidance can be difficult to break. It is deeply ingrained in one’s psyche but can be broken through cognitive behavioral therapy and persistence.

5 Signs of APD

Here are some of the top signs you may be suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder:

· Difficulty Relaxing in Social Situations – If you find yourself constantly getting up to go to the bathroom, fidgeting, or checking your phone repeatedly, you may suffer from APD. Individuals with APD struggle to be present during social situations as they are suffering from a tremendous amount of anxiety.

· Negative Self-Perception – If you find it hard to determine your good traits, or are always putting yourself down to others, you may suffer from APD. At the root of APD is low self-esteem, which manifests into a negative self-perception.

· Hyper-Sensitivity – If you are frequently embarrassed, ashamed, or present a sugar-coated version of yourself to others, you may struggle with APD. This personality trait also makes it difficult to take risks or enter into healthy relationships.

· Reluctant to Engage with Unknown – Those with APD will typically only hang around individuals who they feel comfortable with, or are not intimidated by. This makes it hard to forge new friendships, take risks at work, or date partners where there is a measure of uncertainty in the relationship. Many people with APD will hang out with those who are easy to control or have no need to be impressed.

· Present a False Sense of Self – Those with APD are frequently chameleons because they are afraid to be their true selves around others. They may lie or embellish to appease others and make themselves feel better. This is not done out of a manipulative or malicious intent, but from a low sense of self-worth.

Do you struggle with low self-esteem, depression, or avoidance behavior? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.

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