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Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Overview

Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a disorder of the personality characterized by withdrawal from the social world and involving odd or eccentric behavior. However, before we divulge into more information regarding this disorder, it should be noted that Schizotypal is less severe in form than full blown schizophrenia but is more severe than Schizoid Personality Disorder. It is usually considered as the attenuated form of Schizophrenia.


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Causes

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. However a strong but not clear genetic cause for this disorder has been found and is constantly under research. Relatives of schizophrenic patients seem to greatly at risk for schizotypal personality disorder. However, this is not just for schizophrenia alone. First degree relatives of patients with unipolar depression have also been showing increased rate of developing schizotypal disorder. Also, a biological study has shown that patients with schizotypal personality disorder have enlarged ventricles and less temporal lobe gray matter.


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Signs & Symptoms

A person suffering from Schizotypal Personality Disorder usually shows symptoms of withdrawal and prefers to be alone. They appear aloof, away and do not seem to enjoy usually pleasurable activities. Such people have great difficulty in establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. They have excessive social anxiety i.e. nervousness and hesitation in meeting others or in any other similar social situations. Many of their symbols resemble those in Schizoid Personality Disorder, however there are other eccentric behavior which symbolize this disorder. Patients of this disorder are usually seen to hold peculiar beliefs and ideas such as magical thinking, superstitions, believing that there exists an external force or presence of people who are not actually there. Also, patients develop unusual perceptions. For example, they may have distorted beliefs about their body - having a  crooked arm or a twisted leg or a longer face. Of importance is also the kind of speech pattern developed in this disorder. For example, they may make unclear statements and phrases such as ''not a very talkable person'. They may also start believing that they are clairvoyant or telepathic. These people are least bothered about their personal grooming, they appear dirty and disheveled. In addition to these symptoms the person also becomes suspicious of others behavior and their suspicions may also lead them to paranoia or obsessive behavior. They attach their own personal unusual meanings to events and people. They too show ''flat affect'' i.e. either do not react to events or may react inappropriately.

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Prevention
None
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Treatments
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.

Psychoactive drugs are often used to treat the various personality disorders. Given the connections between schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorders, it is not surprising that antipsychotic drugs like risperidone have shown some effectiveness with schizotypal personality disorder. Some therapists aim to alter the beliefs held by patients about their childhood problems. They are told that carrying past problems to adulthood is unreasonable. Some therapists focus on situations and try to resolve individual problems that taken together reflect a personality disorder.

However, as long as therapies have proven effectiveness they can be undertaken as valuable treatment options.

 

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