Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is an uncommon condition in which people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others. It affects more males than females. If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may be seen as a loner, and you may lack the desire or skill to form close personal relationships.
To others, you may appear somewhat dull or humorless. Because you don't tend to show emotion, you may appear as though you don't care about what's going on around you. Although you may seem aloof, you may actually feel lonely, even if it's hard for you to acknowledge. Or you may feel much more at ease being alone, and feel comfortable with your life.
The cause of schizoid personality disorder is unknown. Therapy and — in some cases — medications can help.
People with schizoid personality disorder are loners. If you have this condition, you're likely to:
Personality disorders begin in early adulthood, at the latest. Some of these tendencies may have first become noticeable during your childhood. They also occur across a range of social and personal situations. They may either cause you to have trouble functioning well in a job, socially or in other areas of life. However, you may do reasonably well in your job if you mostly work alone.
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may not know how to form friendships, or you may feel too anxious around other people to try, so you simply give up and turn inward.
However, unlike schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia, people with schizoid personality disorder:
Classes of personality disorders
When to see a doctor
If someone close to you has urged you to seek help for symptoms common to schizoid personality disorder, make an appointment, starting with a primary care physician or mental health professional.
If you suspect a loved one may have schizoid personality disorder, gently suggest that the person seek medical attention. It might help to offer to go with him or her to the first appointment.
The exact causes of schizoid personality disorder are unknown, although a combination of genetic and environmental factors — particularly in early childhood — are thought to increase the risk of developing the disorder.
Factors that increase your risk of developing schizoid personality disorder include:
People with schizoid personality disorder are at increased risk of:
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred directly to a psychiatrist.
What you can do
Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask questions or share information with the doctor that you don't remember to bring up.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Diagnosing schizoid personality disorder is usually based on an in-depth interview with your doctor about your symptoms as well as your medical and personal history. Your doctor may perform a physical exam to rule out other conditions that may be causing or contributing to your symptoms. If your initial visit is with a primary care doctor, you'll likely be referred to a mental health professional for further evaluation.
To be diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, you must meet criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. Diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder includes four or more of these characteristics:
For schizoid personality disorder to be diagnosed, doctors need to rule out conditions with similar symptoms.
Treatments and drugs
If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may prefer to go your own way and avoid interacting with others, including doctors. You may be so used to a life without emotional closeness that you're not sure you want to change — or that you can.
You might agree to start treatment only at the urging of a family member who is concerned about you. But professional help from a therapist who's experienced in treating schizoid personality disorder can have a major positive impact. Treatment options include:
With appropriate treatment and a skilled therapist, you can make significant progress and improve your quality of life.
Last Updated: 2013-07-27
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