Avoidant personality disorder is a mental disorder, and the risk of substance abuse among individuals who have this mental illness can be high. Avoidant PD is in the cluster C list of personality disorders, and the person with this condition is typically very tense all the time. These individuals feel that they are inept in social situations, and that they are not as good as everyone else or as appealing. Because of these unfounded fears and concerns someone with avoidant personality disorder fears that they will be rejected or end up being criticized or humiliated because of their lack of social appeal. This makes getting out in social settings extremely difficult and the individual will try to avoid being around people as a result.
Often someone with avoidant personality disorder will not take any social or emotional risks unless they are sure that they will be liked and accepted, and this is true even in any intimate romantic relationships. Substance abuse is often engaged in so that the person with avoidant PD can relieve some of the tensions and concerns experienced. Usually individuals with this form of mental disorder also suffer from high levels of anxiety, and they have a very hard time relaxing or having fun when they are in a group with other people because they are constantly searching for signs of rejection or criticism. Many professionals suspect that the fear of rejection may stem from childhood, when the person suffered from either real rejection or they perceived that they were rejected by parents and other family members.