Did you know that avoidance relates to addiction on several levels? In fact, avoidant behavior can lead to addiction, perpetuate it, and make it harder to achieve long-term recovery.
Common co-occurring disorders are addiction and avoidant personality disorder.
It’s important to remember that addiction is a complex condition that can be influenced by various factors, including underlying mental health disorders and avoidant personality disorder, characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and a strong desire to avoid criticism or rejection.
In this post, we will discuss the tie between addiction and Avoidant Personality Disorder and effective treatment options to manage both with care. Continue reading to learn more.
What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) is a mental health condition that affects an individual’s ability to form and maintain social relationships due to intense fear of rejection, criticism, or embarrassment.
Those with AVPD tend to avoid situations where they may be exposed to perceived negative experiences, leading to isolation.
Individuals with AVPD often experience low self-esteem, heightened self-consciousness, and an overwhelming desire for social acceptance despite their fear of being in a social environment.
Perhaps the best way to describe people with avoidant personality disorder is “pathologically shy.” They are shy to the extent that they will go to great lengths to avoid everyday human interactions, such as going to the grocery store or dealing with coworkers.
This avoidance often limits their options for what they can do for work and fun, but it is most debilitating to their social lives.
Avoidant people tend to have few if any, friends despite wanting human connection. This isolation can lead to substance misuse to deal with their unhappiness. When they can’t avoid human interaction, they will often use drugs or alcohol just to survive inevitable social situations.
Complete avoidance is considered extreme behavior, and most people don’t go to such lengths to avoid social contact, but almost everyone avoids something.
Avoidant Personality Disorder Can Lead to Treatment Avoidance
Resisting treatment, or even admitting you have a problem, is another form of avoidance.
Admitting you have a problem is hard, especially when it involves a substance use disorder or an untreated mental health condition.
When people must show up to get treatment, it means taking responsibility for a problem you don’t know if you can solve. It also means enduring detox when you would much prefer to avoid it.
Showing up when you want to avoid treatment means committing to a fundamentally different way of living. This process is inconvenient and often physically challenging, but it will probably require many awkward conversations with people you have hurt and sometimes with people who have hurt you.
Comprehensive detox and rehabilitation will require feeling painful emotions with no way to bury them. To some extent, it’s as if all the pain you tried to avoid is still waiting for you at the other end.
While it can feel like a lot to deal with, it’s necessary. The alternative is to live like an animal caught in a snare that tightens as it struggles. The more people, situations, feelings, and memories you avoid, the less freedom you have.
Avoidant Personality Disorder Treatment
Seeking appropriate treatment is crucial for individuals living with AVPD.
The treatment enhances the quality of life and reduces the risk of developing co-occurring disorders like addiction.
AVPD Treatment often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support systems.
Effective treatment for avoidant personality disorder and substance misuse means addressing both conditions together. Some of the therapies you can expect for the treatment of these co-occurring conditions include
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Experiential Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
- Social Skills Training
- Psychodynamic Therapy
One of the keys of treatment is showing you how to build confidence and have healthy relationships. Residential treatment is often recommended because of the personalized approach and time you can invest in your recovery.
In some rare cases, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression that often accompany AVPD.
Dual Diagnosis: How are Avoidance and Addiction Linked?
The link between avoidance and addiction is quite common and straightforward.
Due to their intense fear of rejection, individuals with AVPD may use substances to cope with anxiety, social discomfort, and feelings of inadequacy in social settings.
Illicit substances can temporarily alleviate distressing and negative emotions and provide a false sense of confidence in social interactions.
While substances may help at the moment, the short-lived relief often leads to a vicious cycle of substance misuse, as individuals increasingly rely on substances to navigate social situations or hide their insecurities.
Individuals with AVPD may use substances to self-medicate to alleviate the symptoms of their underlying disorder.
It is crucial to understand that addiction further exacerbates avoidance behavior, as individuals may withdraw from social interactions to maintain their addictive habits or hide the consequences of their substance misuse.
Avoidance and addiction are vicious and debilitating cycles that can overtake a person’s life. The good news is you can recover with the proper dual diagnosis and treatment for your co-occurring conditions.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we take a comprehensive approach to dual diagnosis treatment. Located in a serene environment conducive to healing, we provide evidence-based therapies and personalized treatment plans that address addiction and underlying mental health conditions, like avoidant personality disorder.
Treatment at The Raleigh House begins with a thorough assessment to identify co-occurring disorders, such as AVPD, and create an individualized treatment plan tailored to each client’s needs.
Clients learn healthy coping mechanisms, social skills, and strategies to address avoidance behaviors and substance use disorders through therapy options, including individual counseling, group therapy, and holistic approaches.
By simultaneously addressing addiction and AVPD, clients have a greater chance of achieving lasting recovery and developing healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Are you ready to start your recovery journey? We are here for you.
Contact us today to learn more.