Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is among the Cluster A group, or eccentric personality disorders, and features a desire to live a more isolated “loner” lifestyle. These individuals avoid emotional attachments or relationships, preferring to live in an inner, fantasy world. They are prone to excessive daydreaming and introspection, and have limited emotional expression. The People with the disorder can function well at a solitary job where they do not have to socialize with coworkers. Schizoid personality disorder usually emerges in young adulthood.
A key feature of the disorder is the lack of emotional expression. For example, when someone with schizoid personality disorder learns of the death of a loved one, they would express little or no emotional response to the news. This lack of emotional expressiveness makes them appear to others as detached and strange.
The cause of schizoid personality disorder is unknown. However, there is speculation that genetics plays a part, as individuals with a family member on the schizophrenia spectrum are more susceptible to developing the disorder. Other possible factors include having an emotionally detached parent, experiencing neglect or abuse as a child, or environmental factors. It is generally accepted that schizoid personality disorder is not caused by a single factor, but is a complex disorder involving a mix of nurture, nature, and environment.
Prevalence of schizoid personality disorder is difficult to determine because people with the disorder usually do not seek out treatment. Rather, they will compensate for the disorder through lifestyle choices, such as finding a job where they can work alone, such as a security guard or a lab researcher, and live alone. Schizoid personality disorder affects more men than women.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
The DSM-5 lists the following symptoms of schizoid personality disorder:
Unlike schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder, individuals with schizoid disorder are in touch with reality. They do not experience hallucinations or paranoia. They also are coherent when they speak, although with a flattened tone and little emotion.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Schizoid Personality Disorder
When someone does seek out professional help, a doctor will initially perform a complete medical history or a physical exam to rule out any medical condition that would explain the symptoms. If no health issue is detected, a psychiatrist or psychologist will interview the individual and access the DSM-5 to assess how many of the symptoms are present before arriving at a diagnosis.
Treatment for schizoid personality disorder will focus on psychotherapy. Through therapy sessions, the individual will work on learning new ways to improve their social skills, communication skills, and better coping skills. Medication is generally not part of the treatment picture for this disorder. If the individual has a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression, then antidepressants would be included in the treatment planning. Bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders are other mental health disorders that may co-occur with this personality disorder.
There is no cure for schizoid personality disorder, so improving quality of life will depend on social skills training leading to improvement in interpersonal functioning.
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