Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder (SPD or SzPD) is characterized by a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression in social settings.

Prevalence

Schizoid personality disorder affects less than 1% of the general population and it is more common in males than in females. The onset of symptoms of schizoid personality disorder typically starts in late childhood or adolescence, and they might affect males more than females.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder vs Schizophrenia

While both share some symptoms, the main differences between the two are that people with schizoid personality disorder are in touch with reality, they make sense when they speak, and they usually don’t experience paranoia or hallucinations.

Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder:

People with schizoid personality disorder:

    • Can be secretive
    • Can be quietly narcissistic and feel superior
    • Prefer a solitary and sheltered lifestyle – work best alone, are introverted, withdrawn, self-sufficient
    • Can be apathetic, indifferent, detached, and aloof, even to praise or criticism
    • Can come across as cold, humorless, and callous, unable to express warmth or anger
    • Speech might be stiff or wooden
    • Don’t necessarily want to avoid others, but the thought of having their personal space affected is too unpleasant, leading to loneliness
    • Unskilled in forming close or intimate relationships and often don’t want them, or have a single, chosen friend
    • Have an aversion to emotional expectations placed upon them (both negative and positive), emotional intimacy, and sharing information about themselves; although some can be very interactive online, and some can develop an interactive in-person persona in order to appear “normal.”
    • Often lack or have minimal sexual desire, or only want sexual relations with strangers so as to avoid the need for intimacy
    • Distinctive or unusual moral or political opinions
    • Are unable to derive pleasure from most activities
    • Feel as though they are passive spectators rather than active participants in life and sometimes get severely depressed over never being fully “present”
    • May be highly introspective and/or create an elaborate internal fantasy world. This is a mentally safe place for the person with SPD, where emotional connection is not required. The fantasies are usually never shared for the same reason.

    Individuals with SPD have, due to their creativity, made important contributions to science and other theoretical areas of knowledge such as economics and physics.

    Diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder:

    The DSM-5 says schizoid personality disorder is:

    1. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
      1. Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family.
      2. Almost always chooses solitary activities.
      3. Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person.
      4. Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.
      5. Lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives.
      6. Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
      7. Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity.
    2. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar disorder or depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder and is not attributable to the physiological effects of another medical condition.

    Someone with SPD will often have another personality disorder too. Many people with Asperger syndrome have symptoms of SPD.

    Causes of Schizoid personality disorder:

    The causes of SPD remain unknown, but biological and environmental factors have been implicated.

    • Genetics – There is some evidence to suggest that there is a genetic link between SPD and schizophrenia, and SPD has been described as a schizophrenia-like personality disorder.
    • Environment – Culture shock can also cause some of the symptoms of SPD to present, but they only last for a few months.
    • Physical – A traumatic brain injury can cause symptoms of SPD, as can premature birth, low birth weight, and prenatal malnutrition.

    Schizoid Personality Disorder complications:

    Complications of SPD include reduced quality of life and impaired overall functioning. Bullying is particularly common toward people with this condition, and there are also high rates of suicidal thinking, despite few attempts.

    If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline and talk for free at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). They can also provide you with information about low-cost clinics and therapists for your depression.

    Call 911 if you are seriously contemplating or vocalizing thoughts of suicide or self harm.

    Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder:

    People with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment; however, those in treatment have the option of medication and/or psychotherapy (talk therapy). Talk therapy can be difficult because of the reluctance to form a relationship of trust.

    • Talk therapy – Certain parts of cognitive behavioral therapy can help examine unhelpful thought patterns and habitual behaviors and choose healthier thoughts and behaviors to replace them with, although therapy must begin with teaching how to recognize thoughts at all.
    • Psychodynamic therapy – can teach people how to recognize social cues such as facial expressions and body language, which gives them greater understanding and confidence is social settings.
    • Group therapy – can help with the feeling of not being alone in the struggle of living with schizoid personality disorder, and new relational, social, and coping skills are learned together, giving support where needed and possibly teaching empathy.

    Therapy with a skilled therapist who specializes in helping those with schizoid personality disorder can considerably reduce the symptoms and lead to a more fulfilling and “present” life.

    Medications

    Most psychiatrists will choose to not treat SPD with medication, although certain medications may reduce the symptoms of schizoid personality disorder as well as treat cooccurring mental disorders such as major depressive disorder.

    Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder:

    People with schizoid personality disorder:

      • Can be secretive
      • Can be quietly narcissistic and feel superior
      • Prefer a solitary and sheltered lifestyle – work best alone, are introverted, withdrawn, self-sufficient
      • Can be apathetic, indifferent, detached, and aloof, even to praise or criticism
      • Can come across as cold, humorless, and callous, unable to express warmth or anger
      • Speech might be stiff or wooden
      • Don’t necessarily want to avoid others, but the thought of having their personal space affected is too unpleasant, leading to loneliness
      • Unskilled in forming close or intimate relationships and often don’t want them, or have a single, chosen friend
      • Have an aversion to emotional expectations placed upon them (both negative and positive), emotional intimacy, and sharing information about themselves; although some can be very interactive online, and some can develop an interactive in-person persona in order to appear “normal.”
      • Often lack or have minimal sexual desire, or only want sexual relations with strangers so as to avoid the need for intimacy
      • Distinctive or unusual moral or political opinions
      • Are unable to derive pleasure from most activities
      • Feel as though they are passive spectators rather than active participants in life and sometimes get severely depressed over never being fully “present”
      • May be highly introspective and/or create an elaborate internal fantasy world. This is a mentally safe place for the person with SPD, where emotional connection is not required. The fantasies are usually never shared for the same reason.

      Individuals with SPD have, due to their creativity, made important contributions to science and other theoretical areas of knowledge such as economics and physics.

      Diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder:

      The DSM-5 says schizoid personality disorder is:

      1. A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
        1. Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family.
        2. Almost always chooses solitary activities.
        3. Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person.
        4. Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.
        5. Lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives.
        6. Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
        7. Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity.
      2. Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar disorder or depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder and is not attributable to the physiological effects of another medical condition.

      Someone with SPD will often have another personality disorder too. Many people with Asperger syndrome have symptoms of SPD.

      Causes of Schizoid personality disorder:

      The causes of SPD remain unknown, but biological and environmental factors have been implicated.

      • Genetics – There is some evidence to suggest that there is a genetic link between SPD and schizophrenia, and SPD has been described as a schizophrenia-like personality disorder.
      • Environment – Culture shock can also cause some of the symptoms of SPD to present, but they only last for a few months.
      • Physical – A traumatic brain injury can cause symptoms of SPD, as can premature birth, low birth weight, and prenatal malnutrition.

      Schizoid Personality Disorder complications

      Complications of SPD include reduced quality of life and impaired overall functioning. Bullying is particularly common toward people with this condition, and there are also high rates of suicidal thinking, despite few attempts.

      If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline and talk for free at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). They can also provide you with information about low-cost clinics and therapists for your depression.

      Call 911 if you are seriously contemplating or vocalizing thoughts of suicide or self harm.

      Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder:

      People with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment; however, those in treatment have the option of medication and/or psychotherapy (talk therapy). Talk therapy can be difficult because of the reluctance to form a relationship of trust.

      • Talk therapy – Certain parts of cognitive behavioral therapy can help examine unhelpful thought patterns and habitual behaviors and choose healthier thoughts and behaviors to replace them with, although therapy must begin with teaching how to recognize thoughts at all.
      • Psychodynamic therapy – can teach people how to recognize social cues such as facial expressions and body language, which gives them greater understanding and confidence is social settings.
      • Group therapy – can help with the feeling of not being alone in the struggle of living with schizoid personality disorder, and new relational, social, and coping skills are learned together, giving support where needed and possibly teaching empathy.

      Therapy with a skilled therapist who specializes in helping those with schizoid personality disorder can considerably reduce the symptoms and lead to a more fulfilling and “present” life.

      Medications

      Most psychiatrists will choose to not treat SPD with medication, although certain medications may reduce the symptoms of schizoid personality disorder as well as treat cooccurring mental disorders such as major depressive disorder.

      Sources MAYO CLINIC – Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms and Causes | MAYO CLINIC – Schizoid Personality Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment | MEDLINE – Schizoid Personality Disorder Causes | PROQUEST – Treatment of schizoid personality | BOOKS.GOOGLE.com – Disorders of the Self – Schizoid | JAMA NETWORK – Birth Weight, Schizophrenia, and Adult Mental Disorder | RESEARCHGATE – Schizoid personality disorder linked to unbearable and inescapable loneliness | INSAR – Pronounced Overlap of Autistic and Schizoid Personality Trait Burden in Adolescence | Levan, Ashley; Baxter, Leslie; Kirwan, C. Brock; Black, Garrett; Gale, Shawn D (2015). “Right Frontal Pole Cortical Thickness and Social Competence in Children With Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury”. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 30 (2): E24–E31.