Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder: The Key Differences

Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder: The Key Differences

The characteristics of both disorders are quite similar, which can confuse people. Avoidant personality disorder and social anxiety disorder have similar symptoms, but they are different conditions. Avoidant personality disorder comes under personality disorders, and social anxiety disorder comes under anxiety disorders.

The key differences


Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by abnormal traits and tendencies that causes abnormalities in a person’s ability to function and socially interact. People with personality disorders have a hard time understanding people around them and certain situations, which affect their daily functions. Personality disorders are difficult to treat as these disorders come under the category of psychosis, which is mainly caused by organic causes or brain injuries and tend to remain through out an individual’s life.

Social anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent worry and fear in certain social situations. People with social anxiety are worried about embarrassing themselves in public by doing something that will cause others to negatively judge them. It is common for people to be nervous about embarrassing themselves in public. However, the persistent fear and worry can distress them, affecting their daily lives. Anxiety disorders are treatable using different therapeutic approaches. Anxiety disorders fall under the category of neurotic disorders, and their effects are milder compared to psychotic disorders.


Most of the clients with personality disorders lack insight about themselves; often, they are unaware of their abnormal actions affecting them and people around them.

People with anxiety disorders are generally aware of how their actions, feelings, and behaviors are affecting their everyday functions and the people around them.


Negative self-evaluation drives people with AVPD to be self-critical and have poor self-image. They display their negative self-image to others, expecting others to perceive them as inadequate. On the other hand, people with social anxiety disorder are only worried about embarrassing themselves.

One major difference between the two disorders could lie in how the person perceives the situations that happens to them. Those with SAD have a basic level of understanding that their worry or anxiety, whereas people with AVPD lack understanding and are severely rooted in their insecurity and worthlessness.

In terms of fear

SAD is excessive fear of certain social situations, for example, meeting new people or giving a presentation, whereas AVPD is persistent fear of all social situations due to the perceived risk of rejection and disapproval from others. In SAD, fear is limited to certain situations, while fear is associated with all social situations, leading the individual to avoid them altogether.

Avoidant Personality Disorder Social anxiety disorder
Abnormal patterns of behavior in most aspects of life. Anxious behavior in specific or limited social situations
Social inhibition, a feeling of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation Intense fear or anxiety of embarrassment or judgement in social situations
Their behavior affects a broader range of interpersonal relationships, including personal and professional. Fear of scrutiny in social situations the varies for each person.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *