Critical Factors Involved in a Move from Generalized Social Phobia to an Experience of Avoidant Personality Disorder from an Adlerian’s Perspective

The diagnostic criteria for Generalized Social Phobia and Avoidant Personality Disorder show considerable overlap between the two disorders, making accurate diagnosis difficult if not impossible. Since the publication of the DSM III there have been contradictory explanations of how to interpret the experience of these orders, whether they can coexist, or if they are distinct. Are these separate disorders or do they lay on a continuum? Due to the fact that the DSM is currently a categorical system of diagnosis clinicians must be able to provide clear distinctions between these disorders and up until this point it has failed to do so. Presupposing that these disorders do indeed lay on a continuum this review of the literature identifies the critical factors that lead an individual from an experience of Generalized Social Phobia to Avoidant Personality Disorder. Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association has outlined proposed revisions to the DSM-5 slated to be released in May of 2013. A shift towards the adoption of a hybrid categorical and dimensional model of personality disorder diagnosis has been suggested which may finally put an end to this debate.

Marcus Rohrbauck
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