Who Is This Avoidant Personality Disorder Quiz For?

Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among people diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder—a mental health condition characterized by a pattern of social avoidance, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection. Please read each question carefully and indicate whether you have experienced these thoughts or behaviors since early adulthood.

How Accurate Is It?

This quiz is NOT a substitute for a formal diagnosis. Only a licensed mental health professional or doctor can give a formal diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder. If you are struggling with the symptoms mentioned below, we encourage you to reach out to your doctor for help and support.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren’t legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

Do you avoid activities at work or school that might involve you working closely with others because you fear they will criticize or reject you and your ideas?
Do you avoid making new friends unless you are certain that you will be liked and accepted?
Does it often take others several attempts to encourage you to join group activities before you will agree to participate?
In relationships (romantic or otherwise) do you find it difficult to talk about yourself and your feelings because you're afraid of being judged?
If someone is slightly critical of you, do you feel extremely hurt and withdraw from them and the situation?
Do you often feel not good enough or like anything you say will be perceived as wrong or stupid by others?
When you meet new people are you particularly conscious of being awkward, unattractive, or inferior?
Do you worry about taking risks or trying new things out of fear you’ll embarrass yourself?
Do you see potential for danger in situations that others in your life take part in without a second thought?

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Avoidant Personality Disorder FAQs

How common is avoidant personality disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder affects some 2.5% of the population. It’s more commonly diagnosed in women than in men.1

What kind of doctor diagnoses avoidant personality disorder?

A mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker can diagnose avoidant personality disorder. It also can be diagnosed by a person’s primary care provider, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief of the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York.

How is avoidant personality disorder diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder, the mental health professional relies on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The person must exhibit at least four of the behaviors listed in the DSM-5 in order to be diagnosed with this condition.2

What does avoidant personality disorder look like?

People with avoidant personality disorder are very concerned about rejection, explains Steven Hollon, PhD, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The person would like to have friends and be social but they are so worried about being rejected that they don’t make and keep friends, Hollon says. “They engage in behavior that ends up annoying other people, even though that is not their intent,” says Hollon. “For instance, they make plans with someone but then back out at the last minute.”

A person with avoidant personality disorder anticipates negative reactions from others, so they tend to avoid people, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief of the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. “They have low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy,” he says.

If you see a person with avoidant personality disorder in a crowd, they would be hanging around on the outskirts, Nydegger adds. “If you try to initiate contact with them, they would be uncomfortable and would try to make the encounter brief,” he says. “They don’t get noticed because they don’t want to get noticed.”

Does avoidant personality disorder get worse?

If untreated, yes. As with any personality disorder, the longer the behavior patterns of avoidant personality disorder go on, the deeper they get, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief of the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York.

Is avoidant personality disorder treatable?

All personality disorders are treatable, and this one is, too, says Naftali Berrill, PhD, director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science in Glen Head, New York. “But I have never heard someone saying they used to have a personality disorder and now they don’t,” he says. “If you have a personality disorder, it will always reflect your way of living in the world.” However, he says, you can work on treating symptoms, even very difficult ones to manage, with a skilled therapist. With treatment, he says, the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder may improve.

Is avoidant personality disorder the same as social anxiety?

No. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is more common than avoidant personality disorder, says Steven Hollon, PhD, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In fact, he says, 10% to 12% of the population may have SAD. People with SAD want very much to make friends but they have trouble doing so. They may be perceived as being cold or indifferent, but only because they are paying so much attention to how they are coming across so as not to embarrass themselves that they seem distant or distracted.

Is avoidant personality disorder an anxiety disorder?

No, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief of the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. “For a person with avoidant personality disorder, there is some anxiety associated with being around other people, so anxiety is a symptom of it,” he explains. “But it is not an anxiety disorder.”

What is the difference between avoidant personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder?

A person with avoidant personality disorder is afraid to be around others. A person with antisocial personality disorder, on the other hand, is not afraid to be around others. They see other people as victims, as people to manipulate and take advantage of. “A relationship is only important to a person with antisocial personality disorder if they can use it to benefit themselves,” says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief of the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York.

How commonly do individuals with avoidant personality disorder seek treatment?

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that a person living with avoidant personality disorder will seek treatment—because they don’t think they have a problem, explains Naftali Berrill, PhD, director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science in Glen Head, New York. It is far more likely that a concerned family member may reach out to a mental health professional about getting help for the person.

“The family member may worry that the person appears uneasy and anxious about how people perceive them and think the person needs help,” Berrill says. If the individual with avoidant personality disorder does decide to seek treatment, it would most likely be because someone close to them suggested it, he explains.

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Last Updated: Aug 4, 2021