When someone has difficulty meeting or interacting with other people or being in social situations, they may write it off as just being shy. In fact, the individual may have a mental health disorder that makes feeling at ease with others challenging. Anyone wondering if they have an illness that can be treated should make sure to get an exact diagnosis. This is because sometimes the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder vs. social anxiety can overlap and feel the same. New View Wellness in Atlanta employs a highly skilled staff who can provide a thorough assessment to determine what disorder people have. From there, they design a structured treatment plan to help ease the symptoms and make getting back out in the world easier to do.

What is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

To begin to understand the difference between avoidant personality disorder vs social anxiety, let’s explore the definition of both mental health disorders. Avoidant personality disorder causes a person to experience great difficulty in interacting with others. They may be mistaken as simply being shy, especially as children, but instead struggle with the act of interacting with others. Avoidant personality disorder falls under the umbrella of what are called personality disorders. Around 1.5% – 2.5% of the population deals with an avoidant personality disorder. 

Common symptoms of avoidant personality disorder include fear of being judged negatively by others, low self-esteem, and self-hatred. The individual may overreact to someone criticizing them or imagine they have been criticized when the other person had no intention of doing so. As a result of these symptoms, the person tends to avoid friendships and romantic relationships. They also often have trouble doing well in their careers or educations. 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is classified as a type of anxiety disorder and was previously referred to as social phobia. This mental health disorder causes people to experience a spike in anxiety when they face the prospect of being involved in social events. Even the idea of going out with friends or to a party can bring on the symptoms of anxiety and panic. Fifteen million adults in the U.S. deal with social anxiety, making it a more common condition than sufferers might realize. The initial symptoms of social anxiety typically begin during childhood or the early teenage years, while a formal diagnosis may not be made until adulthood. 

Symptoms people with social anxiety usually experience include fear of attending social activities and a tendency to isolate from others. They also commonly feel physical symptoms, such as shallow breathing, an elevated heart rate, sweating, nausea, and a fear of passing out. People with social anxiety fear meeting anyone new or being among others socially. They are scared they will do or say something embarrassing or be judged by other people. These symptoms can cause difficulty for people in maintaining relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. It can also impact their jobs and schooling.

The Difference Between Avoidant Personality Disorder vs. Social Anxiety

Looking at avoidant personality disorder vs social anxiety, there is one clear difference. People with social anxiety tend to understand that the anxiety they feel is not rooted in realism, but rather a result of their anxiety disorder. This can make it easier for some to begin to participate in a treatment program. On the other hand, people with avoidant personality disorder often believe their assumptions about how others see them are valid. They feel inferior to others and that any judgment leveled against them will be fair and valid. Treatment for these individuals involves helping them shift how they view themselves and begin to see the falsehoods of their way of thinking.

How Is Avoidant Personality Disorder vs. Social Anxiety Treated?

While definite differences exist between avoidant personality disorder vs social anxiety, several types of therapy can help people heal from these two disorders. Individual psychotherapy provides the hallmark for the treatment of mental health disorders. One-on-one discussions with a therapist help create a safe space for people to discuss their emotions and fears, and the challenges of living with poor mental health. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) teaches people to replace their negative thoughts and behavioral patterns with positive ones that decrease their symptoms. 

Psychiatry that includes the use of prescription medications can provide tremendous results for those who struggle with avoidant personality disorder and social anxiety. Family therapy can also provide great assistance because it allows loved ones to become educated on how their family member feels. The therapist will direct the group in conversation and teach them the most valuable ways to help the person they love heal. Finally, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) coaches the individual to respond in a productive and healthy manner when faced with psychological distress.

Begin Quality Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta Today

Are you concerned about the symptoms you experience and wonder if you can benefit from seeking professional help? New View Wellness in Atlanta can determine if you struggle with avoidant personality disorder vs social anxiety and create a menu of therapies designed to help you overcome the illness. We provide evidence-based therapies and any necessary prescription medications to help you learn to manage your life. We also offer treatment specifically designed to target the mental health needs of teenagers.

If you want more information on how we can help you become more comfortable with yourself and social situations, contact us now. Our staff can answer your questions and provide a free insurance verification for you.