How does it work? The theory behind cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the assumption that avoidance and anxiety are related to the maladapted beliefs and thought processes of the patient. Through collaborative interactions between therapist and patient and by applying cognitive behavioural techniques the severity of the avoidant PD symptoms reduces significantly. Examples of CBT techniques are: the Socratic dialogue, analysing advantages and disadvantages of avoidance, monitoring of beliefs, activity monitoring and scheduling, role-play, graded exposure assignments, and behavioural experiments .
Effectiveness: CBT significantly reduces the effect of the avoidant PD symptoms , . Also, CBT improves interpersonal problems and personality functioning in 40% of the people. This effect was still significant two years after treatment . According to study  only 9% still met criteria for avoidant PD after a 6 month follow-up. In other words: 91% of the patients with avoidant PD who received CBT did not meet the criteria for avoidant PD 6 months after treatment . NOTE: the results of both studies  and  need to be replicated to be able to give more body to the evidence of CBT as a way of treating AVPD.
Cognitive behavioural therapy in combination with medication is the most effective avoidant personality disorder treatment type, because medication can help a patient to manage his or her anxiety levels, which make it easier for the patient to conduct behavioural experiments and practice with new behaviour.
How does it work? The theory behind psychotherapy is based on on the assumption that avoidance and anxiety are related to the unconscious psychodynamic conflicts inside someone. Shame plays a big part in these unconscious conflicts. Short-term dynamic psychotherapy treatment focuses on defense and affect restructuring. Using expressive techniques such as clarification, confrontation, and interpretation, the therapist reduces the AVPD symptoms .
Effectiveness: According to study  and similar to CBT, short-term dynamic psychotherapy significantly reduces the effect of the avoidant PD symptoms. Psychotherapy also improves interpersonal problems and personality functioning in 40% of the people. This effect was still significant two years after treatment . However, study  reports no significant difference between a waiting list and short-term dynamic psychotherapy. In other words, according to study  short-term dynamic psychotherapy is not effective in treating avoidant PD.
How does it work? Treatment focuses on the operationalization of core conflict and includes the patient’s main wishes, how the patient view or anticipates other people responding to him or her. Treatment also focuses on how the patient feels, thinks or behaves .
Effectiveness: After 52 weekly sessions 38,5% of the patients with AVPD still met the criteria for avoiant PD. In other words: time-limited supportive expressive therapy is effective in 61,5% of the AVPD patients . NOTE: this was a 1997 pilot study, so be very cautious when interpreting its results. The author of this website is not aware of any follow-up studies that were able to replicate its findings.
There is no medication that cures avoidant personality disorder. However, there is medication that can reduce avoidant PD symptoms, such as anti-anxiety tablets and/or antidepressants. Unfortunately, medication is only effective for as long as someone takes the medication. Once the patient stops taking medication, the avoidant PD symptoms will return. For more information about anti-anxiety medication of antidepressants, click on: anti-anxiety medication and on antidepressants.
Medication in combination with cognitive behavioural therapy is the most effective avoidant personality disorder treatment type, because the medication can help a patient control his or her anxiety when performing behavioural experiments.