Schizoid personality disorder is a very uncommon clinical diagnosis worldwide.
The symptoms of this diagnosis have to do with the way in which a person perceives or thinks of the world around them. As a result, the person’s symptoms have the ability to affect his or her overall quality of life, occupation, and relationships with their social world. As a result, schizoid personality disorder is considered a medical diagnosis due to its ability to impair a person’s way of life.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is a type of personality disorder in which the individual has a consistent pattern of detachment from social relationships. Relational issues are a key part of this diagnosis.
Those diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder tend to lack the desire for close relationships in all aspects and forms. These individuals will exhibit the lack of a desire for being a part of a family, friendships, and/or romantic relationships. Furthermore, when this person is in a romantic relationship, he or she will have little to no interest in sexual experiences.
What Makes Schizoid Personality Disorder a Disorder
What makes this a disorder different from people who enjoy alone time is the context in which their symptoms appear. People diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder tend to behave the same in various settings and contexts. For example, a person with this diagnosis will behave in the same manner at a family gathering, birthday party, work or attending a class.
As a result of these symptoms, people diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder tend to be considered to be “loners” in society, as being alone is a desired most in these individuals. You will see them by themselves in restaurants, rarely leaving the house. They may feel better staying in to play video games or reading rather than attending social events.
People diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder tend to have a restricted range of expression when it comes to emotions and feelings in interpersonal settings.
When interacting with others, he or she may appear to be emotionally flat, lack enthusiasm, and engaged in the conversation. It can be difficult to tell if he or she is happy, sad, or enjoying themselves.
Social Reactions and Responses
Another symptom of schizoid personality disorder is appearing to be indifferent to praise and criticism of others. Their reaction to criticism and praise may not be a typical, culturally accepted reaction. This can be challenging for others to understand.
They may also have difficulties expressing anger or distress well, even in serious and provoking situations. In a situation where an average person will yell, this individual may not react at all. In another example, a person diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder may not cry during a funeral despite everyone around them expressing their emotions.
Causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder
The causes of schizoid personality disorder are not known according to researchers. However, many psychologists believe the cause of this disorder can be due to a number of factors. These include a person’s biological, genetic makeup, social circumstances, and psychological components.
For one, it is more common in men than in women. In addition, a person’s natural temperament as a child can be a relevant factor.
Likewise, environmental upbringing can be a component causing the disorder to begin. For example, if a person grows up in an environment that is extremely isolated, spends much time by themselves, very little social interaction, or affectionate care from others, he or she may be at risk for developing symptoms related to schizoid personality disorder. These symptoms will continue into adulthood, where it becomes a full diagnosis.
Possible Early Signs
Although schizoid personality disorder is diagnosed in early adulthood, there are signs that the disorder can begin in childhood and adolescence. Some of these prevalent symptoms include wanting to be alone.
Parents should also monitor the peer relationships of their children. Poor peer relationships or a lack of friendships can be an early sign of schizoid personality disorder.
A common issue is differentiating between autism spectrum disorder and schizoid personality disorder. This is because some of the symptoms around emotions and social impairment tend to overlap in both diagnoses. Parents should resist trying to diagnose their child with schizoid personality disorder until he or she has reached adulthood.
Treating Schizoid Personality Disorder
Those diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder are not often prescribed medications, unless they have other current diagnoses as well, such as depression or anxiety.
Many people diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder attend psychotherapy sessions as a way to help them lead an improved quality of life. However, they often avoid seeking treatment unless if they find themselves under pressure from others.
It has been found that short-term therapy is the most effective and using solution-focused techniques. Therapists can also help their client to explore ways to form attachments with others, social skills, and coping skills for times when they may feel overwhelmed. These skills can be an important part of expanding a person’s way of going about daily life. Therefore, learning them may improve the way they interact with the world.
On the other hand, people diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder can also use self-help methods to overcome their concerns and current problems. Finding a self-help group can be beneficial for these individuals as a way to learn how to deal with stressors. It can also help them engage with others who are similar and overcome the feeling of isolation.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Bressert, S. (2017). Schizoid Personality Disorder Treatment. Psych Central.
- Schizoid Personality Disorder. (2018, March 6). Psychology Today.