Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder can be identified by the lack of interest in relationships. Those who suffer often seem emotionally cold, secretive and tend to lead their lives in a solitary fashion, preferring to be alone most of the time. Many of the symptoms of this disorder apply to most people at one time or another. Schizoid personality types, however, will find that symptoms tend to interfere with normal and routine activities, making it difficult to keep jobs and relationships intact. The schizoid personality has often been confused with schizotypal personality disorder or schizophrenia. Research indicates that while schizoid personality disorder may share some of the same symptoms, each of these three conditions are uniquely separate.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder may vary by individual and scenario. Some patients can be clearly identified as having schizoid personality traits, as their actions are withdrawn and isolated. On the other hand, some people with this disorder have the ability to engage in activities that may disguise their symptoms, such as public speaking, acting or creating and maintaining a positive social status. In this case, it may be more difficult to detect the inner emotional vacancy or lack of interest in close relationships. Following are some of the symptoms used to identify schizoid personality disorder:
- Detachment and emotional coldness
- Has trouble expressing both positive and negative emotions
- Prefers solitary activities
- Has no desire for sex with another person
- Very few or no close relationships
- Excessively introspective and introverted
- May be lonely or depressed
Causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder
The exact cause of schizoid personality disorder is not yet known, but research points to many possible events that may trigger the onset of this condition. Often, people who suffer from this disorder have close family members or relatives who show signs of schizophrenia. Additionally, children who grow up amidst a situation of neglect or lack of love and affection may become distant and develop traits that can be defined by a schizoid personality. Any situation that causes a child to feel scorned or unloved may lead to symptoms for people susceptible to mental illness.
Diagnosing Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder may be tricky to diagnose, considering the many variables in recognizing symptoms of this disorder. Ultimately, a trained physician, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can evaluate a patient based upon the criteria involving symptoms, behaviors and family history of mental illness. If at least three of the above symptoms are present and interfering with normal, everyday function, a diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder may be made.
Treatment Options for Schizoid Personality Disorder
Of the many treatment options for mental illness, medication and therapy are the two most common traditional treatments available for people with schizoid personality disorder. Medication is generally aimed at any underlying symptoms, such as depression, anxiety or social discomfort. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication or atypical antipsychotic pills may be of benefit. One may wish to research alternative healing methods as well, such as meditation, yoga or holistic foods and herbal supplements. Not only can alternative medicine bring about whole-body healing, but research and development of a new hobby may encourage an interest in social interaction. According to traditional research, therapy sessions provide the most success for treating schizoid personality disorder. Following is a description of some therapy that may be beneficial:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – cognitive therapy helps a patient to raise awareness of actions and thoughts that may contribute to symptoms of this disorder. Once the patient recognizes triggers, he or she can then learn new coping skills that will encourage progression and increase in comfortable and enjoyable social interaction.
- Family therapy – if family members are willing to participate, this type of therapy can uncover many root issues that could have caused symptoms, thus freeing emotional burdens and allowing the patient to move past barriers that could be leading to this mental state.
- Group therapy – joining a group of others who experience similar symptoms may be one of the most beneficial ways to engage in activities that encourage social interaction. Sharing thoughts and feelings with people who can relate may help with new ideas and release of old habits that cause schizoid behavior.