Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal Personality Disorder is on a spectrum along with schizophrenia disorder and other types of Psychotic Disorders, also known as eccentric disorders. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of social and interpersonal psychological abnormalities, thought disorder, distrust, and paranoia which typically results in social isolation, a state of detachment, temporary psychosis, and/or unconventional beliefs.
People who meet the criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder are usually labeled as eccentric and they tend to have limited connections with others and within their relationships. They often do not recognize the impact their behavior has on others. They may also struggle with understanding appropriate social cues and develop noteworthy suspicion of other people. These issues can lead to severe stress and a predisposition to escape and avoid social situations. Individuals with this personality disorder have a tendency to hold abnormal beliefs which end up impairing their social functioning.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder usually is identified in early adulthood and is expected to remain throughout life. However, SPD treatment with medications and therapy can help address SPD symptoms as well as early symptoms of schizophrenia disorder and if the person is motivated, it can hopefully assist them to achieve their highest level of personal and social functioning.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms
The following are SPD symptoms:
- Strange mode of thinking or behavior
- Infrequent beliefs
- Excessive distress in social circumstances
- Lack of emotions or incorrect emotional reactions
- Abnormal manner of communication that may be pointless
- A limited number of friends
- Excessive social distress
People with signs and symptoms of schizophrenia tend to live their lives socially isolated. Their thought processes may appear psychotic depression in nature, but they usually do not meet the criteria for a different type of psychotic disorder. Rather, they tend to have magical and/or eccentric thoughts.
Risk factors of Schizotypal Personality Disorder:
SPD usually has a tendency to run in families. You may be at risk if there is a relative that has:
- Schizophrenia Disorder
- A type of psychotic disorder
- Any other type of personality disorder
Environmental aspects, specifically childhood traumas, may play a role in the occurrence of this disorder. Factors include:
- Childhood abuse
- Childhood distress
- Having a parent with emotional detachment issues
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Causes
The major causes of SPD include a link between inherited traits and environmental experiences. People having a close family member with different types of schizophrenia are at higher risk of developing this personality disorder. People who are genetically prone to develop SPD and they experience severe enough psychological distress or long-lasting depression, can increase their risk for developing the disorder.
In normal development, children grow over time to properly interrelate with others, to understand social cues, and to connect back to social circumstances properly and with flexibility. Whereas in those having this disorder there is totally an opposite scenario.
Complications of SPD
People who have SPD are at an increased risk for developing these conditions:
- Short-term episodes of psychosis, usually as a reaction to stress
- Problems related to drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Suicidal tendencies
- Problems with school, relationships, work, and social circumstances
- Other personality disorders
Diagnosis of SPD
The diagnosis is usually dependent on:
- Detailed assessment of symptoms
- Complete medical history
- Meeting the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Coping strategies for SPD:
Although Schizotypal Personality Disorder lasts through life, some of the schizophrenia symptoms can improve over time with the appropriate schizotypal personality disorder treatment. Other factors that may be helpful to reduce schizotypal personality disorder symptoms are:
- Healthy relationships with family and friends
- Healthy daily routines such as a schedule, healthy sleep cycle, balanced diet, and exercise
- A sense of accomplishment at school, work, and other activities
Schizotypal Personality Disorder treatment usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medications.
Psychotherapy helps the person learn about and build a trusting relationship with someone. Schizotypal personality disorder treatment, psychosis treatment, and treatment resistant schizophrenia will assist the person to develop coping skills to improve their lifestyle and possibly establish appropriate social relationships.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This helps the individual with recognizing negative thought patterns and how to change them, improve activities of daily living, changing problematic behaviors, and learning accuracy with social cues and improving social skills.
There are no specific medications for the treatment of Schizotypal Personality Disorder; however, a psychiatrist may prescribe an anti-depressant to help reduce negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and positive symptoms of schizophrenia of depression and/or anti-anxiety medicines for dealing with anxiety. Some medications might assist in improving the person’s thought processes by bringing it closer to reality.