Schizoid personality disorder (firstly, this condition was called schizoid psychopathy) is a condition when a person avoids social activities and experiences difficulties in communication with other people. People with this disorder do not express their emotions, they are not eager to have a close relationship with someone and they prefer solitude. A person suffering from this personality disorder is detached and lives in his own world of fantasies and illusions.
How does schizoid personality disorder manifest itself?
Some peculiarities of this disorder occur in childhood at the age of 3-4. Children with schizoid personality disorder always try to choose calm activities and avoid active games and communication with other children. These little people do not express tender feelings towards close people. Children with this illness are interested in abstract matters and serious philosophical problems. For example, a child may think about a matter of life and death and so on. Schizoid accentuation is characterized by isolation and detachment from the world that we know.
Later, a child tends to think logically at school. He is good at math. Nevertheless, such a child is not able to adapt to a normal life and solve simple problems of everyday life. He tries to isolate himself from other children, does not take part in games and activities.
In some cases, this personality disorder manifests itself after birth. This condition is sometimes associated with infantile autism. Most often, such a child is characterized by a monotonous manner of behavior and a lack of emotional responses to others. It is difficult to speak for such children, they are not able to perform habitual actions.
What causes schizoid personality disorder?
Today it is difficult to explain the occurrence of this personality disorder.
Some specialists suggest that the main cause of this unhealthy condition is that people couldn’t find necessary contact with other people. It is believed that parents could mistreat their children. Because of such nurture, a person does not trust others or he is not able to accept and express love and other positive emotions. As a result, such people try to avoid any contact with people.
Other specialists believe that the mental disorders are related to low self-esteem and the inability to build comfortable surroundings.
Specialists studying cognitive development assume that such people have the lack of thinking. Therefore, they are not able to recognize emotions and respond to them. In addition, there is a theory of cerebral and endocrine system insufficiency. Hereditary factors play a role in developing the disorder as well.
Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by paradoxicalness and disharmony in appearance and in behavior and emotions as well. People with this disorder have unnatural motor abilities but they are not flexible. If you pay attention to the patient’s gait and posture, you will notice angularity. Facial expressions are not lively. Voice is also unusual – a person speaks monotonously. Some peculiarities may be noticed in the manner of dressing: he may dress aristocratically or, on the contrary, anyhow.
People with schizoid personality disorder have unusual hobbies but they are weird for other people. Such interests may pursue the achievement of small goals or great ambitions (for instance, research). However, at the same time, these people are not interested in ordinary things relating to everyday life, family, etc. They do not have close friends, they are indifferent to family members, and they are not interested in having sex. Thus, people look for jobs in which social contacts are minimized. Most people are loners and try to avoid any social interaction. As a result, they do not develop social skills. Marriage also suffers because of the lack of communication and sexual intercourse.
A schizoid type of personality is based on the combination of anesthesia (emotional detachment) and hyperesthesia (excessive sensitivity) traits.
Here is a list of major signs and symptoms.
- A person experiences pleasure in few hobbies and activities;
- He is not interested in building close relationships and family as well;
- He is aloof and detached;
- He escapes from any social activities that require any contact with other people;
- He prefers solitude to company;
- He is not interested in having sex with other people;
- He has no close friends and does not get along with family members;
- He does not pay attention to praise and criticism;
- He does not express his emotions and feelings, indifferent to others;
- Changes in mood are slightly noticeable.
It is necessary to mention that people with schizoid personality disorder maintain contact with reality but they prefer staying in their own world. In addition, men may be more likely to develop this personality disorder than women.
Unnoticed and untreated schizoid personality disorder may trigger:
- Schizotypal personality disorder, schizophrenia or another delusional disorder;
- Major depressive disorder;
- Anxiety disorders.
How is the personality disorder diagnosed?
As a rule, there are no special equipment, blood or genetic tests that are used to define schizoid personality disorder. There is a range of criteria, which help to make the diagnosis “schizoid personality disorder”.
- A patient has few interests in life.
- He is aloof and cold, he is not able to express love or anger to other people, he does not pay attention to praise and criticism.
- A patient has no interest in sexual interactions, the only thing that matters is his fantasies.
- He prefers solitude and activities which don’t require contact with other people.
- He has no close friends and no desire to have close ties.
After noticing some of these signs and examining a patient, a doctor makes a diagnosis.
Treatment of schizoid personality disorder
First of all, in order to start an appropriate and beneficial treatment, it is necessary to exclude Asperger’s syndrome. As a rule, medications are not effective in the treatment of this personality disorder. Drugs are used in treatment if the patient suffers from other mental disorders. Cognitive therapy is used that helps patients feel positive emotions. In addition, group psychotherapy can help.