Please, doctor, there is no need to lie to me in order to make me feel better. I know my good sides and they don’t amount to much. If we disagree on this crucial point, perhaps I should start looking for another therapist.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of the book titled “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited” shared a statement above from a patient diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder – as described more fully on

Approximately 2% of the U.S. population experiences avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) each year – to place that into perspective, that is equivalent to around 4.9 million Americans. Personality disorders develop out of long-lived patterns of behavior – AvPD specifically is characterized by fear of criticism and disappointment from others. People with this disorder may feel inhibited in social situations and may become preoccupied with their own shortcomings or feelings of inadequacy. As stated by a 2012 study conducted by researchers from Wesleyan University, individuals with AvPD are high in self-protection, mainly because they live in a state of expecting degrading, humiliating attacks. A person’s social anxiety is often due to misconceptions about the dangers that social situations pose, leading them to refrain from becoming too close to others. How does this personality disorder form?

Research has been inconclusive thus far, but there are many factors that do have an impact on the development of this disorder. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that genetics accounted as one of the strongest time-invariant influencers for the development of AvPD – environmental factors were of most importance during specific time periods during a person’s upbringing. Preceding factors for AvPD have been reported by participants as having poorer child and adolescent academic performance, less involvement in hobbies during adolescence, and less popularity. Reports of childhood physical and emotional abuse have also been reported by many people with AvPD.

Personal tendencies are also a potential contributing factor to the development of AvPD, as some people are more naturally reserved than others. However, genetics and environmental influencers are likely to have the biggest impact on a person. If you’ve been diagnosed with AvPD and have been struggling in your daily life, make the decision to seek treatment today – it’s never too late.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.

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