Avoidant personality disorder is a form of social anxiety disorder.
It can appear to be extreme shyness, but it goes beyond simple shyness. It is a mental disorder that severely affects social interaction. Social inhibition and social phobia are hallmark symptoms.
The avoidant person is very concerned with opinions and criticisms of other people. Low esteem is often a personality trait of people with this mental disorder.
In a social situation, the avoidant person will have difficulty interacting with other people. Social interactions are difficult and sometimes nearly impossible.
Self-medication and substance abuse may be used by people with an avoidant personality.
When a person has a generalized social phobia such as avoidant personality disorder, they experience severe social inhibition. Yet, that does not mean that they do not want to interact with others.
Substance abuse may be a temporary successful solution for behavioral inhibition. By using drugs, such as alcohol, or opioids, a person with this personality disorder is able to overcome their symptoms for a short time.
The more that substance use improves the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder, the more likely it is that the person will become addicted. Alcohol, opioids, and other sedative drugs will melt away the anxiety in a social situation. The anxiety disorder may seem manageable while high on drugs that relieve social inhibitions.
While being able to talk smoothly to others without the symptoms of an anxiety disorder may be a welcome change for an avoidant person, the problems of addiction will soon begin to appear. Before long, alcoholism or opioid addiction can become dangerous, and even life threatening.
Alcohol and opioid addiction are the two most deadly addictions of all.
If you look at statistics for overdose death caused by various drugs, alcohol and opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, are the deadliest. Alcohol causes serious organ damage, and opioids can cause life-threatening respiratory depression.
Fortunately, if a person with avoidant personality disorder becomes addicted to these drugs, there is effective medical treatment. By treating the addiction, the patient will soon be more responsive to individual and group therapy to address the issues of avoidant personality.
In private therapy, the patient may receive various treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, they may be treated with medical treatment for other mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, narcissistic personality disorder.
By starting with medication-assisted treatment for the specific addiction, whether it be alcohol use disorder, or opioid use disorder, the patient will be in a better frame of mind for ongoing care. It is critical to address coexisting mental health issues to minimize the risk of a relapse later on.
What treatment might help a patient with avoidant personality disorder and alcoholism?
There is effective medication-assisted treatment for alcohol addiction. The best option available today is to use naltrexone as part of the treatment plan.
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor blocker, that works very well to reduce alcohol cravings. This medication can be used in two distinct ways.
First, naltrexone may be prescribed as a tablet or monthly injection for patients who have stopped drinking altogether. The naltrexone will help to prevent alcohol cravings that might tempt the patient to return to drinking.
The other way naltrexone treatment can be used is by recommending that the tablet be taken an hour before drinking alcohol. This is a form of harm reduction to help the person who is not ready to quit yet to minimize self harm.
This method of taking naltrexone with continued alcohol drinking is known as The Sinclair Method. The medication helps the patient to drink only a small amount without the usual compulsion to keep drinking throughout the night.
What about opioid addiction and avoidant personality disorder?
With the extreme shyness, behavioral inhibition, and low self esteem, a person with an avoidant personality may feel significant emotional pain. It turns out that opioids work well for emotional, as well as physical pain.
An avoidant person may discover that an opioid, such as a roxy 30 mg, or snorting heroin or fentanyl, relieves the emotional pain for a short time. The opioid smooths over the rough edges of life and makes everything seem as if it is fine.
It does not take long for the avoidant person to get hooked on opioids, wanting more and more to feel less emotional pain. Eventually, the misuse of opioids will lead to opioid dependence and addiction in some people.
What kind of treatment works for opioid addiction and avoidant personality disorder?
Medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is highly effective. Suboxone is a medication that works very well in treating opioid addiction.
When the Suboxone starts to work, the patient may then engage in avoidant personality disorder treatment, without any significant concern for the addiction.
While there are other treatments that are also effective for people with avoidant personality disorder, when it comes to avoidant personality and drug addiction, it is important to start with what we already know works well.
Starting out by treating the addiction with the best treatment available will speed recovery. People who take Suboxone for opioid addiction tend to do very well while on treatment.
How do I know if avoidant personality disorder is the cause of my drug addiction?
If you take drugs to try to change who you are so people will accept you in social situations, you may have avoidant personality disorder. Wanting to be an entirely different person socially may be a powerful risk factor for becoming addicted.
If you hate leaving your house because you do not want to see other people, you may have an avoidant personality. If you have difficulty speaking to people in public and you are concerned about what they think of you, you may also have an avoidant personality.
Not all people with avoidant personality disorder seek out drugs or alcohol to lessen the pain and reduce inhibitions. Yet, for those that do try drugs, the risk of developing addiction is likely significantly higher compared to people who do not have an avoidant personality.
See your doctor if you think you may have avoidant personality disorder complicated by drug or alcohol addiction.
If you are concerned about excessive drinking or opioid use, there is no need to be afraid of going to the doctor. Doctor’s can treat these addictions with effective medical therapy.
And, your doctor can evaluate you for avoidant personality disorder and recommend appropriate treatment. By taking the next step of asking for help, you are on your way to overcoming your addiction and avoidant personality disorder.