Although many people experience occasional episodes of social anxiety, those with avoidant personality disorder experience an acute fear of humiliation and rejection in social situations that goes far beyond normal shyness. Individuals with avoidant personality disorder tend to take extreme measures to avoid social interaction, and their fear and anxiety in social situations is chronic.
Untreated avoidant personality disorder can last a lifetime. Worse, it can interfere with a person’s career and personal life. People with avoidant personalities are less likely than their peers to have a strong support network, and they tend to avoid careers that may put them in uncomfortable social situations, which may limit their potential for increased earnings and professional advancement.
Treating avoidant personality disorder can be difficult. Many people with personality disorders don’t realize they need help. And for people with avoidant personalities, fear of embarrassment often prevents them from seeking treatment. For people with avoidant personalities who do seek help there are several treatment options.
How to Treat Avoidant Personality Disorder: Antidepressants
Antidepressant medication is one possible method of treating avoidant personality disorder. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are often prescribed to treat this condition. SSRIs elevate levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is believed to affect mood, and low levels of serotonin are linked to a variety of mental health disorders, from depression to social anxiety.