The PMHNP is conducting an initial interview with a patient whose history is consistent with avoidant personality disorder.

The PMHNP is conducting an initial interview with a patient whose history is consistent with avoidant personality disorder.


As a PMHNP, you will often find yourself conducting an initial interview with someone who is experiencing avoidant personality disorder. This patient will likely recall many instances of rejection and humiliation from their past in which they were ignored, shamed, or ridiculed.

During the initial interview, you should be sure to pick up on the patient’s specific fears and perceived rejections by others. Often, this personality disorder is left untreated which can lead to other mental disorders. It is imperative that you learn all that you can about this disorder and its connection with other mental illnesses, while also focusing on treatments such as psychotherapy. While there are no specific tests that can diagnose an avoidant personality disorder, you still need to utilize the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to identify triggers and implement effective counseling techniques in order to help your patient cope with this personality disorder.

The patient’s self-image is likely to be characterized as fearful, cautious, and not very self-confident. With an avoidant personality disorder, the patient is likely to be very hesitant to initiate activities and interactions with others.

“Please explain what you mean by ‘I feel like there’s something wrong with me,'” implores an initial behavioral health recertification examiner, before looking down at the patient’s list of behaviors. The patient exhibits several avoidant personality disorder symptoms that include extreme avoidance of social or work situations that involve interpersonal contact, the inability to complete activities if there’s a possibility of negative evaluation, and shyness during interactions with unfamiliar people.

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The patient’s anxiety and anger about being inappropriately excluded from the party after being invited as a guest of honor may be indicative of an avoidant personality.

The “Avoidant Personality Disorder” (APD) is a psychiatric condition present in about 1% of the total world population and affects men and women almost equally (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000). The interviewer should be aware that APD patients are distrusting, sensitive, annoying and difficult patients.

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) causes a patient to be excessively timid, shy, or inhibited in social or professional situations. Understanding the patient’s childhood is essential to understanding how the patient is today.

You might think you’ve got this disorder all figured out, because it’s one of the most well known mental health diagnoses. But there are still plenty of surprises to be found within its hallowed halls—especially the more advanced knowledge found in the realm of assessments and treatment!

The patient’s most striking feature is that he tends to be overly conscientious, exacting, and concerned with criticism. He often blames others for his own mistakes. He prefers to remain in the background and withdraws from interpersonal situations, especially when they involve some degree of criticism or have even a remote possibility of rejection or abandonment. His low self-esteem may lead him to disregard his own needs.

History of being in an abusive relationship?


The PMHNP is conducting an initial interview with a patient whose history is consistent with avoidant personality disorder. The PMHNP understands that one of the most striking features of this interview is likely to be centered upon the patient’s:

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