How is avoidant personality disorder treated?

Treating personality disorders is difficult, because people with these disorders have deep-rooted patterns of thinking and behavior that have existed for many years. However, people with avoidant personality disorder tend to be good candidates for treatment because their disorder causes them significant distress, and most want to develop relationships. This desire can be a motivating factor for people with avoidant personality disorder to follow their treatment plans.

As with other personality disorders, psychotherapy is the main treatment for avoidant personality disorder. Psychotherapy is a type of individual counseling that focuses on changing a person’s thinking (cognitive therapy) and behavior (behavioral therapy). Therapy is likely to focus on overcoming fears, changing thought processes and behaviors, and helping the person better cope with social situations. Medication—such as an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug—might be used to help manage the anxiety felt by people with this disorder. For the best results, however, medication therapy should be done in combination with psychotherapy. Treatment for people with this disorder is most effective when family members are involved and supportive.

What are the complications of avoidant personality disorder?

Without treatment, a person with this disorder can become isolated from society, causing long-term difficulties with work and social functioning. They are also at greater risk for depression and substance abuse.


Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/06/2020.


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