Drugs of Choice
for the Avoidant Personality Disorder
For individuals with AvPD, drugs and alcohol provide escape/avoidance of painful feelings and the situations that elicit these feelings. Drug use assists in modulating hyperarousal and self-deprecatory thoughts. Some individuals with AvPD prefer mild hallucinogens over other drugs, perhaps because they facilitate fantasy. However, sedatives and antianxiety agents are usually the drugs of choice for most clients with AvPD (Richards, 1993, p. 269). While sedative-hypnotics calm anxiety, stimulants or PCP can provide a sense of strength or reduced vulnerability. The drug of choice for these individuals will be whatever gives them a sense of efficacy or allows them to believe that they can be attractive and effective interpersonally.
Many individuals with AvPD also develop compulsive behaviors that relate to appearance enhancement, fantasy, and self-comfort. They may enter treatment with compulsive shopping, compulsive sexual behaviors, and eating disorders in place as well as with drug or alcohol addiction. Abstinence, to be effective, will need to address all self-destructive behaviors as well as drug and alcohol use.