Introduction to Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD)

When seeking counselling, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the different personality disorders that exist. One such disorder is Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD), which is characterised by feelings of inadequacy, sensitivity to rejection, and a reluctance to engage in social interactions. All of these things can significantly impact an individual’s life.

In this blog post, we will provide an overview of AVPD for those seeking counselling, clarify common misunderstandings about the disorder and answer frequently asked questions. Our aim is to provide accurate information about AVPD to help individuals understand and manage their symptoms, as well as to increase awareness and promote a better understanding of this mental health condition.

Before diving into the frequently asked questions about Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD), it’s essential to address common misunderstandings about this mental health condition. Misconceptions about AVPD can perpetuate stigmatisation and make it harder for individuals with the disorder to seek help. In this section, we will clarify five common misunderstandings about AVPD to help increase awareness and promote a better understanding of this mental health condition.

Common misunderstandings about avoidant personality disorder

Misunderstanding #1: AVPD is the same as shyness.

Shyness and AVPD are not the same. While both may involve feelings of discomfort in social situations, AVPD goes beyond shyness to include extreme social anxiety and a profound fear of rejection.

Misunderstanding #2: People with AVPD are rude or aloof.

Individuals with AVPD are not rude or aloof; they are afraid of social interaction. They may avoid eye contact, speak softly, or even stutter due to their anxiety.

Misunderstanding #3: AVPD is not a real disorder.

AVPD is recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a real personality disorder. It is a legitimate mental health condition that can significantly impact an individual’s life.

Misunderstanding #4: People with AVPD can just “get over it.”

AVPD is not something that people can just “get over.” It requires treatment, such as psychotherapy or medication, to help individuals manage their anxiety and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Misunderstanding #5: AVPD only affects a small number of people.

AVPD affects around 1% of the general population, making it a relatively common disorder. However, due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, many individuals with AVPD may not seek treatment, leading to underreporting of the disorder.

Frequently asked questions about avoidant personality disorder

Understanding Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) can be challenging, and individuals may have many questions about the disorder. Whether you or someone you know has been diagnosed with AVPD or you’re curious about the condition, this section aims to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. From the causes of AVPD to its treatment options, we will address three common questions to help you gain a better understanding of this disorder and its management.

FAQ #1: What causes AVPD?

The causes of AVPD are not yet fully understood, but researchers believe that genetics, environment, and brain chemistry may all play a role. Individuals who experience neglect, abuse, or trauma in childhood may also be at higher risk of developing AVPD.

FAQ #2: Can AVPD be treated?

Yes, AVPD can be treated with psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), or interpersonal therapy (IPT). Medication may also be prescribed to manage symptoms of anxiety or depression.

FAQ #3: How can I support someone with AVPD?

If someone you know has AVPD, it’s essential to offer support and understanding. Encourage them to seek treatment and be patient and non-judgmental as they work through their anxiety.

If you believe that you or someone you know may have AVPD, it’s important to seek professional help. At Community Counselling and Care, we offer individualised counselling services to help individuals manage their symptoms and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Our licensed therapists are trained to provide evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, and interpersonal therapy. We encourage anyone who wants to know more about AVPD or seeks support to contact us. Together, we can work towards better mental health and well-being.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

Lampe, L., Slade, T., Issakidis, C., & Andrews, G. (2003). Social phobia in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being (NSMHWB). Psychological Medicine, 33(4), 637-646.

Grossmark, R. (2001). The Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder by Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 65(4), 489-502.

Alden, L. E., & Capreol, M. J. (1993). Avoidant personality disorder: Interpersonal problems as predictors of treatment response. Journal of Personality Disorders