Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is a condition in which affected people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others. If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may be seen as a loner, and you may feel as though you have no idea how to form personal relationships.
To others, you may appear dull or humorless. Because you don't tend to show emotion, you may appear as though you don't care about what's going on around you. However, although you may seem aloof, you may actually feel extremely sensitive and lonely.
The cause of schizoid personality disorder is unknown. Therapy and medications can help.
People with schizoid personality disorder are loners. If you have this condition, you're likely to:
Some of these tendencies may have first become noticeable during your childhood.
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may not know how to form friendships, or you may feel too anxious around other people to try, so you simply give up and turn inward.
The schizophrenic spectrum
In addition, schizoid personality disorder isn't marked by odd speech. Although your tone may not be animated, what you say makes sense. In contrast, the conversational patterns of people with schizotypal personality disorder are typically strange and hard to follow.
When to see a doctor
If someone close to you has urged you to seek help for symptoms common to schizoid personality disorder, make an appointment, starting with a primary care physician or mental health professional.
If you suspect a loved one may have schizoid personality disorder, gently suggest that the person seek medical attention. It might help to offer to accompany your loved one to the first appointment.
The exact causes of schizoid personality disorder are unknown, although a combination of genetic and environmental factors — particularly in early childhood — are thought to contribute to development of all personality disorders.
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may have had a parent who was cold or unresponsive to emotional needs. Or, you may have been hypersensitive or thin-skinned in early adolescence and had these needs treated with annoyance or scorn.
A family history — such as having a parent who has any of the disorders on the schizophrenic spectrum — also increases your chances of developing the disorder.
Personality development is affected by genetic tendencies as well as environmental factors, particularly during childhood. Factors that increase your risk of developing schizoid personality disorder include:
People with schizoid personality disorder are at an increased risk of:
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. 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, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.
For schizoid personality disorder, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
What you can do in the meantime
Tests and diagnosis
Diagnosing schizoid personality disorder is usually based on an in-depth interview with your doctor about your symptoms as well as your medical and personal history. Your doctor may perform a physical exam to rule out other conditions that may be causing or contributing to your symptoms. You may also be referred to a mental health professional for further evaluation.
To be diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. Criteria for schizoid personality disorder to be diagnosed include four or more of the following characteristics:
For schizoid personality disorder to be diagnosed, doctors may first need to rule out conditions with similar symptoms, such as autism or Asperger's syndrome.
Treatments and drugs
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may prefer to go your own way and avoid interacting with others, including doctors. You may be so used to a life without emotional closeness that you're not sure you want to change — or that you can. And if you do come into treatment, you may find it extremely hard to open up about your inner life.
However, a therapist with experience treating schizoid personality disorder is likely to understand your need for personal space and private thoughts, and will continue reaching out to you without pushing. With a skilled and patient therapist, you can make significant progress.
Last Updated: 2010-12-08
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