Individuals with avoidant personality disorder tend to be hypersensitive to criticism. These people typically have been very shy throughout their lives. The symptoms of avoidant personality disorder include have a deep fear of rejection, embarrassment, ridicule, and disapproval. They tend to have low self-esteem and little self-confidence. Socially, they are reluctant to meeting new people and avoid social situations. These individuals tend to struggle with intimacy in relationships.
Cluster C Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are a category of mental health disturbances that are characterized by unhealthy and inflexible patterns of feeling, behaving, and thinking. These types of entrenched thought and behavior patterns are usually not in alignment with cultural norms, which causes problems in interpersonal, social, and familial relating. In most cases the individual with the personality disorder has no idea that they have an unusual way of thinking or acting, which makes it difficult for them to form close bonds with others.
It is believed that personality disorders develop as a result of genetic influences and environmental influences, particularly childhood trauma. In most cases, a personality disorder does not emerge until the late teen years or early adulthood, although some symptoms may be present in childhood.
Cluster C Personality Disorders
Individuals with a Cluster C personality disorders tend to be have anxious and fearful thoughts and behaviors. Cluster C personality disorders include:
People who struggle with dependent personality disorder tend to feel very anxious when they are alone. These individuals need to be around other people for support, reassurance, and comfort. They need others to help them make decisions or even just to function in daily life. Symptoms of dependent personality disorder include needing constant assurance, submissive behavior, fear of abandonment, being very nervous and afraid when alone, and a need to be taken care of.
This disorder differs from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder. Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder tend to be perfectionists who are obsessed with rules, orderliness, and control over their environment. These individuals strive for absolute perfection in the workplace, which can cause them to freeze up under the fear of making a mistake. These individuals tend to be rigid, inflexible, and stubborn.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Cluster C Personality Disorders
When a Cluster C personality disorder causes impairment in daily functioning or relationships, the individual may then seek out some psychological support. Also, there can be symptoms of different Cluster C personalities present, as they do tend to overlap to some degree. A coexisting substance use disorder may also be present.
To arrive at a diagnosis, the mental health professional will interview the individual, asking them questions about how they perceive themselves and others, how they relate with other people, and how emotions and impulses are controlled. The doctor may also utilize assessment tools, such as questionnaires that can help them arrive at an accurate diagnosis. And finally, the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria will be accessed to definitively arrive at a diagnosis.
Treatment for a Cluster C personality disorder relies primarily on psychotherapy, as there is no psychiatric drug that is designed for treating a personality disorder. Some doctors may prescribe medications for the symptoms, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety drugs.
Psychotherapy that is helpful for treatment of Cluster C personality disorder includes:
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