Schizoid personality disorder is a condition in which people avoid social relationships. They tend to have a sheltered relationship, emotional coldness, detachment, and secretiveness. People with schizoid personality disorder may not be able to form intimate connections with others and at the same time they possess a rich and convoluted but exclusively inside a fantasy world. They hardly feel there is anything wrong with them. People with this personality disorder may be able to perform well in everyday life, but can’t develop any meaningful relationships with others.
Typically, they are introverts and may be prone to excessive daydreaming as well as forming attachments to animals. Some other intricate features include stilted speech, an inability to tolerate emotional expectations of others, a degree of asexuality, a lack of deriving enjoyment from most activities, and idiosyncratic moral or political beliefs, feeling as though one is an “observer” rather than a participant in life, and obvious detachment when praised or criticized.
People with schizoid personality disorder tend to show no emotions, even appear as though they don’t care about others or what’s going on around them. Such people usually function well at antisocial jobs others would find hard, like librarians, landscape designer, writers, and night security watchmen.
SPD is sorted under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a Cluster A condition; it is defined as an uneven and eccentric. Another two Cluster A personality disorders are the schizotypal personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder. Social withdrawal and awkwardness are the main attributes of this cluster.
The causes of SPD have not discovered yet, but there are a large number of evident shared linkages of the genetic risk between SPD and schizophrenia. So, SPD is typically considered to be a “schizophrenia-like personality disorder”. It is identified by clinical observation, and sometimes it is very complicated to differentiate SPD from other mental disorders like autism spectrum disorder, paranoid personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, or schizotypal personality disorder.
A point of considerable importance is that people with schizoid personality disorder are, somehow, in touch with absoluteness, unlike those suffering with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Prevalence of SPD is approximately 3.1 to 4.9% of the population, with an even frequency in men and women.
What Are the Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder?
People with schizoid personality disorder are self-regarding and insensible of their feelings, many perceive their differences from others. Such individuals, especially who are in treatment, acknowledge “life passes them by” or they feel something missing like living inside a shell. They look themselves as “missing the bus” and talk about observing a life from a distance.
People with this personality disorder typically coordinate their lives to keep away from other people. Its symptoms usually start in late childhood or adolescence. Some people never get married or may continue living with their parents as adults. Other common symptoms of the people with schizoid personality disorder may include the following:
- They are aloof and have few close friends.
- They are impervious to the others’ emotions.
- They are afraid of intimacy and are free of romantic interests
- All the time, they seem absent-minded.
- They are always engrossed in fantasy, vague and stilted speech.
- Their style alternations are more between eloquence and inarticulateness.
- Most of the times, they are averse to sexual gossips.
- They are more tending towards spiritual, mystical and para-psychological interests.
- They are indifference to social norms and expectations.
- They prefer solitary occupational and recreational activities and are marginal or sociable in groups
- They are vulnerable to esoteric movements owing to a strong need to belong.
- More frequently they tend to be lazy and indolent.
- They are compliant, stoic, and noncompetitive.
- They are self-sufficient and self-satisfied.
- They always lack assertiveness, feel inferior and an outsider in their life.
What Causes Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Not too much is known yet about the causes of schizoid personality disorder, but both genetics and environment factors are believed to play major roles. Personality is built by multiple factors such as inherited tendencies, parenting, childhood experiences, education, and social connections. All these elements may play an important part in contributing to the development of schizoid personality disorder.
Some researches by mental health professionals hypothesize that a gloomy childhood where warmth, affection, or sympathy were absent lead to the development of the disorder. The much higher likelihood of schizoid personality disorder in families of schizophrenics explains that a genetic susceptibility for the disorder could be inherited.
In general, premature birth, a low birth weight, and prenatal caloric malnutrition are also the risk factors for being bothered by mental disorders and may result in the development of schizoid personality disorder. Those who have been gone through brain injuries like traumatic brain injury may also develop more risk of acquiring features stimulated of schizoid personality disorder.
How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Diagnosed?
If symptoms of schizoid personality disorder exist, the doctor will begin an assessment by checking a complete medical history and performing a physical personality exam. The doctor will also evaluate for any underlying medical conditions that might be contributing to symptoms of the disorder.
There are no certain lab tests to diagnose personality disorders in an effective way; the doctor may perform several diagnostic tests to prevent physical illness.
According to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, people with schizoid personality disorder must show at least four of the following signs in order to be diagnosed:
- Lack of emotional expression and emotional detachment.
- Always prefers solitary activities
- Do not experience pleasure from activities at all
- Lack of desire of enjoyment for close personal relationships
- Little or no engrossment in sex with other people
- Indifference to criticism or praise
- No special close friends other than the primary family
If the doctor does not find any physical reason for the symptoms of personality disorder, he might advise that person to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist and health care professionals who are specifically trained to treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists apply certain manipulated interviews, designed sessions, and personality assessment tools to check a person for a personality disorder.
How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Treated?
Those who are diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder hardly seek treatment for their condition. This is a major problem found in many personality disorders, which rule out many people who are diagnosed with these conditions from coming forward for treatment. People turn to manage their condition as not contradicting with their self-image and their unusual thoughts and odd behaviors. This is because such people’s perception and attitude make them complacent.
There are hardly any facts and figures on the persuasiveness of several treatments on this personality disorder, maybe because this is probably seen in clinical settings. Yet, those going through diagnosis process can avail the choices of medication and psychotherapy.
No medications are generally used for directly treating schizoid personality disorder. However, certain medications may lower the symptoms of SPD and treat co-occurring mental disorders as well. Other medications can be prescribed if the person also suffers from a correlated psychological problem, like depression.
Psychoanalytic therapy of schizoid people is a long-term treatment and causes many difficulties. Supportive psychotherapy is performed in an inpatient or outpatient settings by expert health care professionals that works mainly on the areas like coping skills, communication and self-esteem issues, and improvement of social skills and social interactions.
Socialization groups also help people with schizoid personality disorder. Educational master plans in which those people can recognize their positive and negative emotions also may be productive. This will help them learn about their own feelings and the feelings they draw out from others. This can also help people with SPD develop sympathy with the outside world.
What Are the Complications of Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Something that makes the schizoid personality disorder more complicated is an antisocial behavior and a lack of social interaction with others. People with this personality disorder do not express violent attitude, because they prefer not to interact with people. Associated conditions like excessive mood swings, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and other personality disorders may also be more frequent than in the general population.
Can Schizoid Personality Disorder Be Prevented?
As schizoid personality disorder exact causes are not known yet, there is no certain way for the prevention of schizoid personality disorder.
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