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How can I tell if I have Social Anxiety or AvPD without going to a therapist?

2 Answers
Last Updated: 07/14/2020 at 9:02pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Andrea Tuck, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I tackle and discuss a multitude of social and emotional health issues. I have a belief that through empowerment and non-judgmental support clients' can thrive.

Top Rated Answers
July 14th, 2020 9:02pm
Having AvPD for years I had to know about this more to cope with this. According to psychologists, the main characteristic that makes AvPD different from Social Anxiety is feeling isolated on the cognitive level. and that's what my therapist said either. People having social anxiety feel socially awkward too, but only on a physical level. They tend to have physical symptoms of anxiety on social events yet they know that's irrational and other people aren't taking them so harshly as they are. But people with AvPD lacks this understanding. They keep feeling inadequate, insufficient, worthless, and insecure about themselves all the time. Although people with social anxiety have self-esteem on some areas other than social events, avoidant people tend to have significantly low self-esteem. And most importantly AvPD hits on one's daily life and relationships. Because they tend to have harsh and cruel thoughts and behaviors on themselves. So if you want to know whether it is Social Anxiety or AvPD initially, look at your thoughts first. If it is keeping you from functioning in your daily life like going to classes or works, having friends, having a relationship, maintaining balanced relationship with family, then it might be AvPD. I personally underwent all of these. (Was about to be a drop out of my university and many more which I am not so proud of, to be honest) or if it's just having physical symptoms of anxiety then it could be social anxiety. Whatever it is, any of these are hard to bear I can say. Since we are not professionals, we are just sufferers like you, we highly recommend you to visit a therapist. This is difficult to distinguish AvPD from Social Anxiety on your own. Hope everything gets better for you..
April 21st, 2020 7:48pm
Mental illness diagnoses are usually done by a psychiatrist, not a therapist. Your primary care provider may also be able to diagnose you, but he or she may prefer to refer you to a psychiatrist for a diagnosis. Diagnosing mental illness is not an exact science. Whoever diagnoses you will use the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5) and to put it simply, whichever one you have more symptoms of is the one you will likely be diagnosed with. AvPD and Social Anxiety Disorder do have a lot of the same symptoms, which makes it difficult when figuring out a diagnosis. There has also been some thought in the psych community that AvPD is just a variation of Social Anxiety Disorder (or vice versa). Whichever you are diagnosed with (if either one at all), treatment will likely be the same: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. Some prescriptions (likely SSRIs) may be prescribed in addition to therapy.
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Reviewed Jun 30, 2022