By Dr. Theo Miller

teens-with-avoidant-personality-disorderAvoidant personality disorder in teenagers is also termed as anxious personality disorder. The teenagers suffering from this disorder are visibly shy or reserve in nature. This disorder is cluster C personality disorder that could be recognized by their lack of self-trust, feeling of inferiority and a deep-rooted fear of rejection.

This fear keeps these adolescents away from social interactions and pushes them in their own cocoons. Their depression makes them a bystander who watch the world from the ringside. They find it hard to maintain the normal relations with friends, schoolmates and relatives. That results to further deterioration as the suffering teenagers begin to avoid work, school activities, and where they need to intermingle socially.

Symptoms of Avoidant personality disorder in teenagers

There are few distinct symptoms that teenagers show up when they are suffering from this disorder.

  • Deep fear of facing disapproval and refutation from society members. They constantly stay in fear of being humiliated, insulted or having physical harm. They have a feeling embedded deep down that they are unwelcome everywhere.
  • Escapist nature- They avoid the state of affairs when asked to interact socially, school work and other chores. A habit of lying also develops among the adolescents to avoid a situation.
  • The teenagers with this disorder generally keep a low profile, have low self-worth and keep themselves aloof. They are conscious of their looks too, feeling not happy about it.

Diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder in teenagers

Avoidant personality disorder can be identified from the very beginning when a child is in pre-school. Parents can ascertain if the kid is aloof and unfriendly, not happy to participate in sports or any extra-curricular activities.

However, looking at the ground reality, psychoanalysis can’t be conclusive in forming opinion about the disorder in adolescents as the personality development continues until the age of 18 years. Everything said psycho-analysts can make a fair diagnosis based on the childhood and present time behavior pattern of the adolescent.

Parents must observe the teenager’s social behavior and normal growth. As this could have an adverse influence on the child’s present and future growth.

Treatment of avoidant personality disorder for adolescents

The treatment for this disorder of adolescent is best done through an expert in psychotherapy with similar experience. Typically, people go to them when they feel this illness is affecting people around more than the suffering teenager. The treatment might take longer depending upon the intensity of the disorder. Often the teenagers are taken for short-term treatment just to advise and handle some tricky situation. There are few ways to treat this disorder.

  • Therapy by communicating- Talking and knowing the adolescent better will help the analyst to suggest the course of treatment. Besides cognitive therapy the social skill training is also given.
  • Medication- Medication is suggested in some cases of depression in teenagers.
  • Questionnaire – Psychoanalysis contains set of questions for the teenager, asking about the past and present to help analyst to carry out an effective therapy.

Causes of avoidant personality disorder in adolescence– This disorder is still to be defined clearly though it is concluded that its causes are the blend of social, erratic behavior, genetic and emotional factors.