Schizoid Personality Disorder
What is a personality disorder?
Personality is vital to defining who we are as individuals. It involves a
unique blend of traits—including attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, and moods—as
well as how we express these traits in our contacts with other people and the
world around us. Some characteristics of an individual’s personality are
inherited, and some are shaped by life events and experiences. A personality
disorder can develop if certain personality traits become too rigid and
People with personality disorders have long-standing patterns of thinking and
acting that differ from what society considers usual or normal. The
inflexibility of their personality can cause great distress, and can interfere
with many areas of life, including social and work functioning. People with
personality disorders generally also have poor coping skills and difficulty
forming healthy relationships.
Unlike people with anxiety disorders, who know they have a problem but are
unable to control it, people with personality disorders generally are not aware
that they have a problem and do not believe they have anything to control.
Because they do not believe they have a disorder, people with personality
disorders often do not seek treatment.
What is schizoid personality disorder?
Schizoid personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called
eccentric personality disorders. People with these disorders often appear odd or
peculiar. People with schizoid personality disorder also tend to be distant,
detached, and indifferent to social relationships. They generally are loners who
prefer solitary activities and rarely express strong emotion. Although the
names sound alike and they might have some similar symptoms, schizoid
personality disorder is not the same thing as schizophrenia. Many people with
schizoid personality disorder can function fairly well. They tend to choose jobs
that allow them to work alone, such as night security officers and library or laboratory workers.
What are the symptoms of schizoid personality disorder?
People with schizoid personality disorder often are reclusive, organizing
their lives to avoid contact with other people. Many never marry and continue to
live with their parents as adults. The following are additional traits of people
with this disorder:
- They do not desire or enjoy close relationships, even with family
- They choose solitary jobs and activities.
- They take pleasure in few activities, including sex.
- They have no close friends, except first-degree relatives.
- They have difficulty relating to others.
- They are indifferent to praise or criticism.
- They are aloof and show little emotion.
- They might daydream and/or create vivid fantasies of complex
What causes schizoid personality disorder?
Little is known about the cause of schizoid personality disorder, but both
genetics and environment are suspected to play a role. Some mental health
professionals speculate that a bleak childhood where warmth and emotion were
absent contributes to the development of the disorder. The higher risk for
schizoid personality disorder in families of schizophrenics suggests that a
genetic susceptibility for the disorder might be inherited.
How common is schizoid personality disorder?
It is difficult to accurately assess the prevalence of this disorder because
people with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment. Schizoid
personality disorder affects men more often than women and is more common in
people who have close relatives with schizophrenia. Schizoid personality
disorder usually beings in early adulthood.
How is schizoid personality disorder diagnosed?
If symptoms are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a
complete medical history and physical exam. Although there are no
laboratory tests to specifically diagnose personality disorders, the doctor
might use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical illness as the cause of
If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she might
refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, health care professionals
who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists
and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to
evaluate a person for a personality disorder.
How is schizoid personality disorder treated?
People with this disorder rarely seek treatment because their thoughts and
behavior generally do not cause them distress. Their inability to form
relationships with others also poses a challenge for therapists because trust is
an important component of treatment.
Psychotherapy – a form of counseling – is the most commonly used treatment
for schizoid personality disorder. Treatment likely will focus on increasing
general coping skills, as well as on improving social interaction,
communication, and self-esteem.
Medicine is generally not used to treat schizoid personality disorder
itself. Medicine might, however, be prescribed if the person also suffers from
an associated psychological problem, such as depression.
What are the complications of schizoid personality disorder?
A lack of social interaction is the main complication of this disorder.
People with schizoid personality disorder are rarely violent, as they prefer not
to interact with people.
What is the outlook for people with schizoid personality disorder?
Although some of their behaviors might be odd, people with schizoid
personality disorder are generally able to function in everyday life. However,
they might not form any meaningful relationships or have families of their own.
Can schizoid personality disorder be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent schizoid personality disorder.
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