Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is one type of eccentric personality disorder. This means that the behavior and mannerisms of someone with this disorder may appear odd to others.
Schizotypal personality disorder is on the schizophrenia spectrum, but individuals with this disorder usually do not experience psychosis.
Who Is at Risk?
Schizotypal personality disorder tends to run in families. You may be at risk if you have a relative with:
- schizotypal personality disorder
- another personality disorder
Environmental factors, especially childhood experiences, may play a role in the development of this disorder. These factors include:
- trauma or stress
- having a parent who is emotionally detached
Signs and Symptoms
Most individuals are diagnosed in early adulthood. Symptoms include:
- strange thinking or behavior
- unusual beliefs
- discomfort in social situations
- lack of emotion or inappropriate emotional responses
- odd speech that may be vague or rambling
- lack of close friends
- extreme social anxiety
Hallucinations, delusions (fixed, false beliefs), and loss of touch with reality are hallmarks of psychosis. People with schizotypal personality disorder do not usually have psychotic symptoms.
Intense social anxiety makes it difficult for people with this disorder to build relationships. They often blame others for their discomfort in social situations, and they tend to lead solitary lives.
How Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder Diagnosed?
Your doctor will begin by giving you a physical examination. This is to check for any physical conditions that could cause your symptoms. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and whether other members of your family have personality disorders.
Your doctor may send you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a psychiatric assessment. This will include questions about:
- when your symptoms began
- how your symptoms affect your daily life
- your childhood
- how you feel in social situations
- your experiences at school and work
The psychiatrist or psychologist will ask if you have ever thought about harming yourself or others. He or she may also ask you if your family members have commented on your behavior. Your responses will be used to create a diagnosis.
There are no medications designed to treat this condition. Some individuals benefit from antipsychotic or antidepressant medications.
Several types of therapy can help treat schizotypal personality disorder. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help you learn how to form relationships. It may be combined with social skills training to help you feel more comfortable in social situations.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you address some of the undesirable behaviors associated with this condition. You will learn how to act in social situations and how to respond to social cues. CBT can also help you learn to recognize unusual or harmful thoughts and change them.
Family therapy may be helpful for those who live with others. It can help you strengthen your relationships with family members. This may also help you to feel support from your family.
Schizotypal personality disorder is a chronic condition that usually requires lifelong treatment. Individuals with this condition are at risk for developing major depressive disorder and other personality disorders.
Your outlook depends on the severity of your symptoms. If you are able to get treatment quickly, your treatment may be more successful.