“Anxious [avoidant] Personality Disorder is characterized by feelings of tension and apprehension, insecurity and inferiority. There is a continuous yearning to be liked and accepted, a hypersensitivity to rejection and criticism with restricted personal attachments, and a tendency to avoid certain activities by habitual exaggeration of the potential dangers or risks in everyday situations.
At least four of the following must be present:
- Persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension.
- (E.g., “I usually feel tense or nervous.”)
- Belief that oneself is socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others.
- (E.g., “I feel awkward or out of place in social situations.”)
- Excessive preoccupation about being criticized or rejected in social situations.
- (E.g., “I worry a lot that people may not like me.”)
- Unwillingness to get involved with people unless certain of being liked.
- (E.g., “I won’t get involved with people until I’m certain they like me.”)
- Restrictions in lifestyle because of need for security.
- (E.g., “A lot of things seem dangerous to me that don’t bother most people.”)
- Avoidance of social or occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fear of criticism, disapproval or rejection.
- (E.g., “I keep to myself even when there are other people around.”)