Schizotypal personality disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder
People with schizotypal personality disorder are often described as odd or eccentric and usually have few, if any, close relationships. They generally don't understand how relationships form or the impact of their behavior on others. They may also misinterpret others' motivations and behaviors and develop significant distrust of others.
These problems may lead to severe anxiety and a tendency to turn inward in social situations, as the person with schizotypal personality disorder responds inappropriately to social cues and holds peculiar beliefs.
Schizotypal personality disorder typically is diagnosed in early adulthood and likely to endure, though symptoms may improve with age. Medications and therapy also may help.
People with schizotypal personality disorder have difficulty forming close relationships and have peculiar beliefs and behaviors.
Schizotypal personality disorder signs and symptoms can include:
Signs of schizotypal personality disorder, such as increased interest in solitary activities or a high level of social anxiety, may be seen in the teen years. The child may be an underperformer in school or appear socially out of step with peers, and as a result often becomes the subject of bullying or teasing.
Schizotypal personality vs. schizophrenia
Another key distinction between schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia is that people with the personality disorder usually can be made aware of the difference between their distorted ideas and reality. Those with schizophrenia generally can't be swayed away from their delusions.
Despite the differences, schizotypal personality disorder can benefit from similar treatments as schizophrenia and is sometimes considered a variant of schizophrenia.
When to see a doctor
People with schizotypal personality are likely to seek help only at the urging of friends or relatives. If you suspect a friend or family member may have the disorder, be on the lookout for certain signs. You might gently suggest that the person seek medical attention, starting with a primary care physician or mental health provider.
Personality is the combination of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that makes you unique. It's the way you view, understand and relate to the outside world, as well as how you see yourself. Personality forms during childhood, shaped through an interaction of inherited tendencies and environmental factors.
In normal development, children learn over time to accurately interpret social cues and respond appropriately. For people with schizotypal personalities, something goes wrong during this process, leading to illogical beliefs, unusual thinking and paranoid feelings. What exactly goes wrong isn't known, but it's likely that one or more factors cause problems with the way the brain functions, and genetics may play a role.
Factors that appear to increase the risk of schizotypal personality disorder include:
People with schizotypal personality disorder are at an increased risk of:
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a psychiatrist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
For schizotypal personality disorder, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask questions any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
If you need immediate help
Tests and diagnosis
Doctors diagnose personality disorders based on a thorough interview about your symptoms as well as your personal and medical history. Often people with schizotypal personality disorder seek help because of other symptoms such as anxiety, depression or angry outbursts or for treatment of substance abuse. A physical exam will help rule out other medical conditions, and a mental health provider will likely be consulted for further evaluation.
To be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, a person must meet the symptom criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental illnesses and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
For a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder, at least five of the following criteria must be met:
In addition, to be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, a person must never have met the criteria for any other schizophrenic disorder.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment for schizotypal personality disorder often includes a combination of medication and one or more types of psychotherapy.
Treatment can be more effective when family members are involved (family therapy). Seeking professional counseling as a group may help reduce fighting or emotional distance and improve trust in the home.
Improvement over time
Last Updated: 2013-04-11
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