Schizoid Personality Disorder is the name of a Personality Disorder that is characterised by a lack of interest in social relationships, a proclivity for solitary activities, secretiveness, emotional coldness and apathy. The disorder is part of the ‘Odd and Eccentric’ cluster of personality disorders. People with Schizoid Personality Disorder will also usually have a rich fantasy world. The disorder is separate to Schizophrenia, though the two do share some traits, however people with Schizoid personality disorder are in touch with reality, unlike those with Schizophrenia. This article provides a general look at this disorder.
A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder will typically:
- Be uninterested in forming friendships and/or relationships.
- Prefer to be alone with their thoughts.
- Appear aloof and emotionally cold.
- Act indifferently to various setbacks.
- Get very little pleasure in life.
- Struggle to establish friendships – and find it difficult to ascertain accurate impressions of how well they get along with others.
- Tend to prefer solitary activities wherever possible.
- Struggle to express their feelings meaningfully.
- Be secretive and rarely express themselves.
- Feel as if they are ‘going through life in a dream’.
It isn’t entirely known what causes Schizoid Personality Disorder. It is believed that genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset of Schizoid Personality Disorder. An individual with a family history of Schizophrenia can be more at risk in developing the disorder. Trauma, neglect or experiencing bullying or other negative social experiences can cause the disorder. Generally, your personality forms throughout your childhood, so any negative experiences as a child can contribute.
If you suspect you have a personality disorder, it is generally advisable to see your GP. It is likely that they will refer you to a specialist. This specialist will perform a diagnosis – which will involve asking you several questions about your condition and the impact it has had on your life. Generally, the clinician will use guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association to confirm a diagnosis. There has been some controversy over its suitability for making a diagnosis. The guidelines state a diagnosis can be made if four or more of the following factors are present.
- The individual neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, often even to the extent of not wanting to be part of a family.
- Almost always chooses solitary activities.
- Has little, if any interest in having sexual experiences with another person.
- Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.
- Lacks close friends or confidants aside from first-degree relatives.
- Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
- Appears to be emotionally cold and detached.
As most people with Schizoid Personality Disorder have no problem with their difference, many don’t seek treatment. However, it is possible to seek help for a related issue which has arisen due to the traits of the disorder – like Depression. Usually therapy will be used, with medication sometimes used too. For therapy, a form of Psychotherapy is normally used. The therapy normally focuses on trying to improve social skills and social interactions, and attempts to combat self-esteem issues. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has its limitations however, due to Schizoid patients rarely being able to identify automatic thoughts. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is often used instead. In any case, attempts will be made to improve the quality of life for the patient. It can take considerable time for therapy to work, but it is possible to overcome Schizoid personality disorder. Sometimes, especially if the disorder has caused a depressive phase, medication can be prescribed. Medication can reduce anxiety, blunted emotions and low feelings. Atypical antipsychotics such as Risperidone and Olanzapine can be used in low doses. Some antidepressants like Bupropion can also help. Mood stabilisers such as Lamotrigine have also proven to be effective.
Other Personality Disorders:
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder