The formal diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder, or anxious personality disorder, rests on these symptoms, which can be evaluated by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.
Please see our separate note on Treatment, Mental Disorders and Basic Science for important caveats on the role and definition of diagnostic criteria.
Avoidant Personality Disorder According to the ICD-10
The following information is reproduced verbatim from the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992. (Since the WHO updates the overall ICD on a regular basis, individual classifications within it may or may not change from year to year; therefore, you should always check directly with the WHO to be sure of obtaining the latest revision for any particular individual classification.)
F60.6 Anxious (Avoidant) Personality Disorder
Personality disorder characterized by at least 3 of the following:
- persistent and pervasive feelings of tension and apprehension;
- belief that one is socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others;
- excessive preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social situations;
- unwillingness to become involved with people unless certain of being liked;
- restrictions in lifestyle because of need to have physical security;
- avoidance of social or occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fear of criticism, disapproval, or rejection.
Associated features may include hypersensitivity to rejection and criticism.
Please see the separate set of notes which apply to all personality disorders in the ICD-10 system of classification: ICD Notes Common to the Diagnostic Criteria for Each Personality Disorder.