Mental health jargon can be confusing for those that do not work within the profession. This confusion is compounded by the fact that many disorders have overlapping or similar symptoms, making them seem like the same issue going on when in reality, there are differences. Two conditions often confused for one another are social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder. Characterized by introvert characteristics and perpetual shyness, it is easy to see how these are often mixed up. However, understanding their differences can help individuals get the help they need to live happy and healthy lives.

What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?

There are various kinds of anxiety disorders, and social anxiety disorder is one of the most common. It is characterized by severe, persistent fears of being judged by others, affecting the person’s day-to-day life regarding social interactions. Those with social anxiety often have trouble maintaining personal relationships, speaking up in meetings or class, or even being present in crowded places. Common symptoms include blushing, sweating, feeling nauseous, being afraid of others’ judgment, avoiding crowded places, seeming uncomfortable, having rigid posture, rapid heart rate, or feeling severely self-conscious. It is usually treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) is a mental health condition in which an individual is plagued by persistent feelings of inadequacy, sensitivity to rejection, and shyness. Individuals with APD tend to overexaggerate situations and criticisms, causing them to struggle with interpersonal relationships. They are standoffish when it comes to other people and typically have difficulty growing close to others. They are extremely sensitive to criticism and believe themselves to be socially deficient compared to others. Talk therapy, medication, and adventure-based therapy can be used to treat individuals with APD.

The Main Differences

The main difference between APD and social anxiety disorder is that APD is a personality disorder. Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that is usually less severe. There is a more recognizable pattern of instances in APD compared to a few specific situations within social anxiety. Those with APD also feel inferior to those around them, which is not a common symptom of social anxiety. While the two disorders do have overlapping symptoms, it is essential to identify their differences to get the person the help they need.

It is not uncommon for individuals to confuse one mental health disorder with another, especially in the case of social anxiety and avoidant personality disorder (APD). The two have overlapping signs and symptoms, but they are characterized by differing feelings and situations that distinguish them. If you believe you are struggling with either social anxiety or APD, call Alta Loma Transformational Services. We work with men of all ages to help them heal from chronic mental health issues and addiction. Find your path today by calling (866) 457-3843.