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Avoidant Personality Disorder vs Social Phobia

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Avoidant Personality Disorder vs Social Phobia

Postby lilyfairy » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:41 pm

The difference between AvPD and Social Phobia is a question that comes up frequently. I found the below information while searching the web and while it references an earlier version of the DSM, thought it might be helpful to people. Note that it is possible to have both AvPD and Social Phobia.

Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant Personality Disorder is one of the more common personality disorders. Experts estimate that about 5% to 7% of people on the community can be diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD).

Based on the definition in DSM IV-TR, the main characteristic of Avoidant Personality Disorder is to think of oneself as inadequate, flawed and inferior to others. People with APD tend to believe others don’t like them and are afraid that others will criticize or ridicule them. This fear of disapproval, rejection, and criticism often causes people with Avoidant Personality Disorder to stay away from social interactions, and to avoid work or school activities that involve getting into contact with other people. This frequently results in missing out on social and professional networking opportunities, and leads people with APD to have a rather small social circle in which they only interact with people of whom they are sure that they are liked. People with APD are extremely sensitive to rejection and criticism and they usually don’t like trying out new activities that might put them at risk of being embarrassed or ridiculed.

Social Phobia
Social Phobia can look very similar to Avoidant Personality Disorder. Social Phobia has to do with being extremely anxious in social situations. Examples would be fear of public speaking, or fear of eating, drinking or writing in from of other people. It could be fear of addressing authority figures, fear of attending parties, or fear of initiating conversations. The fear is mostly about being embarrassed, or of others recognizing that they are anxious. When a person with social phobia finds themselves in their feared situation, they develop intense anxiety with some really strong physical symptoms, such as intense heartbeat, breaking out in a sweat, or hands shaking and shortness of breath. Taken to an extreme, these physical symptoms of anxiety can develop into a full-blown panic attack.

From http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc. ... c&id=30080

The Social Phobia Forum can be found here
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