Schizotypal personality disorder is characterised by persistent, out-of-character patterns of eccentric behaviour. Individuals suffering from this disorder are generally loners who prefer to keep their distance from other people and are extremely uncomfortable being in close relationships. They often have cognitive or perceptual distortions, may display odd characteristics in their everyday behaviour, and generally do not understand how their behaviour impacts, or is perceived by, others.
What Are Personality Disorders?
American Psychiatric Association: People with personality disorders like schizotypal exhibit behaviour and thought patterns that deviate from the “norm. For instance, they will likely have poor coping skills and difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships with others. Relationships, career prospects, and general well-being can all be jeopardised by these unwelcome personality traits. Most people with personality disorders aren’t even aware they have a problem, and they’re even less likely to believe that their atypical personality traits are the root of their problems.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms and Signs to Watch For
Those who suffer from schizotypal personality disorder have a great deal of difficulty in social situations and have a great deal of difficulty relating to others. These patterns often begin by early adulthood and present in a variety of ways, but it will typically include five or more of the signs and symptoms below:
- Because of their persistent and exaggerated social anxiety,
- They are loners usually lacking close friends outside of their immediate family
- They have flat affect, having limited or inappropriate emotional responses
- A lot of the time, they’re suspicious of or paranoid about other people’s loyalties.
- They have strange perceptions, such as feeling the presence of someone who isn’t there or seeing things that aren’t there.
- Their can appear unkempt, as they tend to dress in peculiar ways
- They’re characterised by their outlandish or outlandish behaviour, beliefs, or thoughts.
- Many of them hold out hope for supernatural abilities like telepathy or superstition.
- Often, they misinterpret events and attribute personal negative connotations to things that are actually innocuous or inoffensive.
- They have an odd way of speaking, often speaking in vague or unusual ways or rambling strangely during conversations.
High levels of social anxiety and a preference for solitary pursuits are two early warning signs of schizotypal personality disorder that can be seen in teenagers. In these situations, the child may be struggling academically, may feel isolated in the classroom, or may be subjected to bullying.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder: What Causes It?
A person’s unique combination of thoughts, feelings, and actions is referred to as their “personality.” Personality generally forms and becomes fixed during childhood and influences how a person views themself and the world around them. Schizotypal personality disorder’s exact cause is unknown, but genetics, environmental factors, and learned behaviours are thought to be contributing factors. A person’s risk of having schizotypal personality disorder may be greater if they have a relative who has schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder.
Schizotypal personality disorder patients are also more likely to suffer from the following side effects:
- Other types of character flaws
- Temporary psychotic episodes, usually in response to stress
- Problems with alcohol or drugs
- Suicide attempts
- Work, school, relationship, and social problems
Diagnosing Schizotypal Personality Disorder
See your doctor if you have five or more symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder. In your initial consultation, your doctor will ask about your medical history and may do a physical exam. While there are no lab tests to diagnose a personality disorder, a doctor can use other tests and assessments to rule out physical illnesses as the cause of your symptoms. You might also be asked to see a licenced psychiatrist, psychologist, or other health care professional who is trained to diagnose and treat mental illness.
It is common for doctors to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association to help make a diagnosis. Your doctor will likely ask a number of questions, including how your symptoms manifest, impact your life, your satisfaction with relationships, and your family history with mental illness.
Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment
Rarely do those with schizotypal personality disorder themselves seek help.. There are some people who can benefit from antipsychotic medications and therapy when treatment is sought, however. Psychotherapy may help people who have schizotypal personality disorder begin to trust others and learn coping skills by building a trusting relationship with a therapist. Therapy treatment types may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT can assist a person in overcoming their own self-defeating thoughts. In cognitive behavioural therapy, an individual works with a licenced professional therapist in a highly structured way to help them develop coping techniques. The focus is placed on treating a person’s problems by managing dysfunctional emotions, behaviours, and thinking.
- In-home counselling. Using support therapy as a stepping stone out of social isolation, clients can work on character flaws and coping mechanisms. It can boost a patient’s self-confidence and self-esteem while also recognising their limitations and encouraging them to learn new skills.
- Family therapy. Family therapy helps family members improve communication, resolve conflicts, or navigate difficult times. Unlike individual counselling, family therapy focuses on addressing problems as a familial unit.
If a physician determines that medication is required, the following options may be prescribed:
- Antipsychotics — such as aripiprazole (Abilify, Aristada), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), or risperidone (Risperdal) (Risperdal)
- Stimulants — like methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin) (Concerta, Ritalin)
- Medication that improves cognitive function, such as the ADHD medication guanfacine (Intuniv, Tenex)
- Clonazepam, for example, is a benzodiazepine (Klonopin)
- Anticonvulsant and nerve pain medication — like gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin), which treats seizures
People with schizotypal personality disorder must be treated for the rest of their lives because it is a chronic condition characterised by a pattern of social and interpersonal deficits. While a person’s specific outlook will depend on the severity of their symptoms, those who have access to therapy and medication treatments may be more successful in managing the disorder. Keep an eye out for other signs of mental illness, and talk to your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.