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Schizoid Personality Disorder



Literally the word 'schizoid' relates to schizophrenia which itself is a severe mental disorder wherein the patient shows a great amount of disturbance in thoughts, emotions and behavior. Schizoid personality disorder is a disorder of the personality which is characterized by odd or eccentric behavior like Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder. However, it should be understood that schizoid personality disorder is different from schizophrenia. Schizoids are usually considered as a less severe variant of schizophrenics. The diagnostic criteria for Schizoid Personality Disorder are also similar to some of the symptoms shown by a schizophrenic patient in the stages prior to the illness and following the illness.


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There exists a huge body of research trying to figure out the exact causes of such odd and sometimes eccentric behavior. In spite of this there seems to be no clear-cut causes to this disorder. Studies of families suffering from schizotypal personality disorder report a higher incidence of schizoid personality disorder. Thus it could be quite sure that there exists some genetic facet however there seems to be no clear pattern of the behavior - genetic research on schizoid personality disorder.


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Signs & Symptoms


An individual to be diagnosed as having a schizoid personality disorder shows a wide pattern of eccentric or odd behavior; behavior usually interfering with day-to-day social and occupational functioning. People with this disorder usually are dull, bored, do not indulge or enjoy social relationships. They prefer to remain aloof, bland, unfriendly, remote and distant from others and as a result have no close associates or friends. Also their detachment leads them to lack of warmth and sensitivity for everyone else around them. They show no or extremely limited signs of affection and may report lack of indulgence in otherwise enjoyable activities. These people hardly report strong emotions and are not interested in sex.


Completely uninvolved and apathetic, patients with schizoid personality disorder are indifferent to encouragement, praise, criticism and are not bothered about how others in their vicinity are behaving or feeling. There is very limited sensitivity to the sentiments of others. These characteristics make a schizoid a loner and a pursuer of solitary interests.  

As is apparent a schizoid will hardly show interest in his/her family life no matter how severe the circumstances become. Patients report lack of responsive feeling or feelings of affection and warmth in social relationships. This may be referred to as the 'flat affect' wherein variations in circumstances around the patient do not initiate a response in the patient. Also a schizoid finds it difficult to establish or form close emotional relationship with others.


The symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder is somewhat similar to Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder. Schizoid Personality Disorder is less common among women than among men.




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Psychotherapy Psychotherapy


Therapies for this disorder is usually varied depending on the approach of the psychologist. The choice of approaching the problem is entirely the therapist's own as long as it proves effective and satisfactory to the client. It is quite important to bear in mind the fact that a therapist working with personality disordered patients are typically concerned with severe disorders categorized as psychotic. Indeed, most patients with personality disorders enter treatment for a more severe disorder rather than a personality disorder. For example, a person with schizoid personality disorder may seek treatment for substance abuse.


Psychoactive drugs are usually recommended for various personality disorders, including schizoid personality disorder. Some therapists see the present views of a person's childhood problems as the disturbing element and aim to alter that. Social skills training have also been proved effective for people with personality disorders.


However, it has to be noted that there is no outlined treatment approach. Combination of various therapies (eclectic approach) may also be quite effective. Nonetheless, schizoid personality disorder does respond to effective treatment procedures.


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