Avoidant Personality Disorder

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Medical Description

Received: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 02:03:20 +0000World Health    Organization


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The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders
World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992

F60.6 Anxious (Avoidant) Personality Disorder

Personality disorder characterized by at least 3 of the following:

(a) persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension;
(b) belief that one is socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others;
(c) excessive preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations;
(d) unwillingness to become involved with people unless certain of being liked;
(e) restrictions in lifestyle because of need to have physical security;
(f) avoidance of social or occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.

Associated features may include hypersensitivity to rejection and criticism.


Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a severe disturbance in the character logical constitution and behavioral tendencies of the individual, usually involving several areas of the personality, and nearly always associated with considerable personal and social disruption. Personality disorder tends to appear in late childhood or adolescence and continues to be manifest into adulthood. It is therefore unlikely that the diagnosis of personality disorder will be appropriate before the age of 16 or 17 years. General diagnostic guidelines applying to all personality disorders are presented below; supplementary descriptions are provided with each of the subtypes. 

Diagnostic Guidelines

Conditions not directly attributable to gross brain damage or disease, or to another psychiatric disorder, meeting the following criteria:

(a) markedly disharmonious attitudes and behavior, involving usually several areas of functioning, e.g. affectivity, arousal, impulse control, ways of perceiving and thinking, and style of relating to others;
(b) the abnormal behavior pattern is enduring, of long standing, and not limited to episodes of mental illness;
(c) the abnormal behavior pattern is pervasive and clearly maladaptive to a broad range of personal and social situations;
(d) the above manifestations always appear during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood;
(e) the disorder leads to considerable personal distress but this may only become apparent late in its course;
(f) the disorder is usually, but not invariably, associated with significant problems in occupational and social performance.

For different cultures it may be necessary to develop specific sets of criteria with regard to social norms, rules and obligations. For diagnosing most of the subtypes listed below, clear evidence is usually required of the presence of at least three of the traits or behaviors given in the clinical description.


ICD-10 copyright 1992 by World Health Organization.


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