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Course and Prevalence of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder affects about 2.5% of the general population, and tends to be more common in women than in men [ref].

Although not many studies have examined the long-term course of this condition, one could make inferences about this from the course of Social Phobia, which tends to begin in adolescence and to persist for many years even with treatment. Given that Avoidant Personality Disorder is probably a severe form of Social Phobia [ref, ref, ref], it follows that it would have an even more chronic and persistent course.

As in cases of severe Social Phobia, individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder would be less likely to graduate from college and more likely to hold lower paying, lower status jobs than people without this condition [ref]. This tends to occur because these individuals shy away from school or work situations that require a lot of social interactions. They also tend to experience more social isolation, given that they are socially inhibited. Their shy and self-conscious behaviors tend to make other people less likely to approach them as well.

Individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder have high rates of other psychiatric disorders. About 25-50% have Panic Disorder, 10-25% have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, 20-25% have an Eating Disorder, and more than a third have Body Dysmorphic Disorder [ref]. Depression also occurs frequently, as do other personality disorders like Dependent Personality Disorder [ref].


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