What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

People with schizoid personality disorder may feel indifferent towards social relationships and find that they have a limited range of emotion.

A sad person with "#sad" written on his or her arm.

Schizoid personality disorder is a mental disorder where an afflicted person may not feel like anything is wrong with them. However, they may feel indifferent towards social relationships and find that they have a limited range of emotion. They may avoid social activities and shy away from other people. They may also have hobbies which do not require any sort of social interaction. People with a schizoid personality disorder may appear to be loners or strange. While the schizoid personality disorder is not as disabling as schizophrenia as it does not cause a disconnection from reality, the disorder may make establishing and maintaining relationships with others difficult.


About Schizoid Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is a tool for taxonomizing and classifying mental disorders. It lists down schizoid personality disorder as a Cluster A personality disorder. Cluster A disorders are similar, as mental disorders in this cluster may make people appear to be odd or eccentric to other people. Cluster A disorder includes paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal mental disorders.

The DSM-5 states that the essential feature of schizoid personality disorder is its extensive pattern of being objective or aloof from social relationships and has a restricted range of expression of emotions. Early signs of schizoid personality disorder can appear in childhood and adolescence through their solitariness, poor peer relationships, and underachievement in school.

Experts are not quite sure of what causes schizoid personality disorder. However, they think that having a dull and bleak childhood may be a contributing factor. After all, it is in childhood where people learn to accurately pick up on and interpret social cues that others give. There may be other causes as well, such as genetic and environmental factors. According to the DSM-5, one of the risk factors are if they have any relatives with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder. SPD is more commonly diagnosed in males.


Diagnostic Criteria of Schizoid Personality Disorder

Signs that your diagnosis may be SPD:

  • Indifferent to opportunities to develop close relationships: Trouble forming relationships, aloof in social situations including being a member of a family
  • Chooses solitary or antisocial activities: People with SPD may busy themselves with hobbies indoors, or spend their leisure time alone, seemingly without a problem.
  • Lack of desire for intimacy: People with SPD may have trouble forming relationships and reading other people which may make sexual experiences difficult.
  • Reduced feeling of pleasure from sensory, bodily, or interpersonal experiences: People with SPD may have trouble expressing emotions and may seem to not enjoy anything.
  • Trouble making friends, may not have any close friends, few friendships, and they might not date or marry.
  • Feels indifferent to the compliment or criticism of others: People with SPD may have trouble “reading the room.”
  • Displays emotional coldness, aloofness, or flattened affectivity: People with SPD may not express emotions.


Diagnosis and Treatment

A psychological evaluation is one way to diagnose SPD. Questionnaires and personality tests may help with diagnosing the condition.

People with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment for their condition. Because they are socially isolated, they may often not reach out for help or look for support. If therapy is attempted, it should focus on simple treatment goals, such as reducing stress. Medications are not prescribed for schizoid personality disorder, unless if the person with schizoid personality disorder has anxiety. Group therapy may be helpful but it should not be used as an initial treatment.

Not a lot is known about treating schizoid personality disorder. People with SPD are still able to function well in everyday life and do tasks in isolation quite well.

Schizoid personality disorder comes with complications. Individuals with the disorder are at increased risk of developing SPD, schizophrenia, or another kind of delusional disorder. They are also at increased risk of developing major depression, anxiety disorders, or other kinds of mental disorders.

If a person suffers from SPD, he should be given social support. If you suspect that someone you know may have SPD, you should encourage them to get help. People with schizoid personality disorder should seek medical attention from a mental health professional.

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