Schizoid Personality Disorder

disorders are often given a stigma to those who suffer with these as though they are “crazy” or unpredictable. However, this is an underserved stigma and one that the world is working on changing. One of the disorders out there that many people do not realize even exists is called Schizoid Personality Disorder. What is this? What are the symptoms? These are all questions that we are going to answer!

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What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

This is often referred to as the loner disorder. Why is this? Because those that have this disorder are often what you would consider typical loners. Schizoid Personality Disorder is described as simply being indifferent to what is going on around you and to those relationships they could be having. While someone on the outside can see that a person is not interacting socially, those with this disorder often never realize that they have a problem. To them, this is simply natural.

Schizoid Definition

What is the definition of Schizoid? Psychology Today defined the Schizoid personality as being a pattern of indifference to social relationships, with limited range of emotional express and experience.

This definition shows why many have labeled this the Loner Disorder. But, it is something that a person can get over when they are given the proper treatment. Many may associate this disorder with another disorder such as bipolar disorder; a psychotic disorder, anxiety disorders and the like, which a person may have. Researchers are looking into the correlation between having this disorder and an increased chance of developing schizophrenia in later life.

Schizoid Personality

What type of personality does a person with Schizoid Personality Disorder have? They may often seem as though they have no emotions at all. When discussing something upsetting, those who suffer with this personality disorder may look at though they are not interested. It can make them appear awkward,  and feeling and as though they simply do not care when in personal situations.

Schizoid vs Schizotypal

If you are dealing with someone who has Schizoid Personality Disorder, it is the “schizo” part of the disorder that often scares people. This is because they are thinking of Schizotypal personality disorder which is a similar sounding mental health condition. To better understand these, let’s take a look at each.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder is defined as a mental health condition in which a person has trouble with relationships and disturbances in their thought patterns, appearance and behavior. They often act inappropriately in the way they deal with others and show their feelings. In addition, those with schizotypal often:

  • Have odd believes
  • Believe in fantasy
  • Dress strangely
  • Be preoccupied or fear things that others deem harmless
  • They are preoccupied with themselves
  • They are in the state of mind that everything that happens in the outside world relates to them, even if it does not.

For those who are suffering with Schizoid Personality Disorder they may have trouble with personal relationships as well. However, they are not going to be classified as strange in the way they think or dress. They simply show no emotion, which makes a person feel as though they are heartless or simply do not care.

Both disorders are thought to have genetic and environmental effects that play a role. There are several speculations that believe that if a childhood that was bleak, (absent of warmth or emotion) this could be one of the reasons why people later develop these disorders. Please note that those who have these disorders are not considered threats to society or themselves. They simply do not interact well with people and crowds.

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These two disorders are often confused since they are both categorized as a Cluster A personality disorder. However, knowing the difference is a must. As each is going to require a different type of treatment plan to get the person back to what is considered normal. Also note that more men than women have this disorder.

Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

There are several symptoms that are seen in those who do suffer with Schizoid Personality Disorder. A person has to showcase at least four of these symptoms in order to be diagnosed with this disorder. And they have to be evident for a long time in the person’s life usually since early adulthood to be considered the textbook definition of this disorder. These symptoms are:

  1. They have no desire or enjoyment being in close relationships, including being a part of a family.
  2. They almost always choose to do solitary activities.
  3. They have little, if any, sexual experiences with other people.
  4. They take pleasure in a few, sometimes none, activities whatsoever.
  5. They may talk with their first-degree relatives, but they lack any close friends or confidants.
  6. They appear indifferent when someone praises or criticizes them.
  7. They often seem cold emotionally, or simply detached from the situation at hand.

Flat Affect

The Flat Affect refers to the emotional response, or lack of emotional response, that those with this disorder show. They are often considered flat in how they respond. A person with this disorder could have someone yell at them, call them every name in the book, and never flinch. Whereas a normal person may get upset or angry, those with this disorder often seem indifferent or just shrug it off as though it doesn’t bother them.

They seldom show any type of emotion, which is why they are often described as being “flat”. Whereas, “normal” people often show happiness during the holidays, those with this disorder often just look at this as another day. For those who suffer with this, they often don’t even realize that their demeanor comes off as being cold or off putting. That is why it is extremely important that people realize what this personality disorder is, so they truly understand that those who suffer with this mental health issue cannot help the flat affect they demonstrate.

In addition, those who are dealing with this disorder often do not have much variations in their moods. Normal people may be angry one day, sad one day, happy for several days and then repeat the cycle. However, those with this disorder seem to be simply flat in their feelings day after day. Due to not showing emotion or not feeling any type of emotion, this is something that therapists are studying now.

No Close Relationships: The Typical Loner

Perhaps the most common trait of those who have SPD is that they are considered your typical loner. They have few friends and no close relationships at all. Those who have this disorder are often seen living alone, they don’t go out often, if at all, into social situations. Why is this? They simply have no desire to do this. Whereas other young adults are all about their hormones, those with this disorder would prefer to sit at their home and do something that is considered a lone activity. They have no desire to talk to others and be around them at all.

This type of behavior does affect their personal relationships as well. Most people who have this disorder are not married because they are indifferent to a relationship that involves sexual interaction. Due to their avoidance behavior, most of these people avoid sexual interaction and any type of intimacy, as it simply does not interest them.

Best When Alone

Those who have this disorder often find that they are best when left alone. Social exchanges are awkward for everyone involved. However, the person with this disorder does not often realize that they are being awkward, they simply have no desire to participate. This is why they are often seen working in professions that do not require that they have to be socially involved as much. Those with this disorder often work best in their own home, online where they do not have to interact as much with people.

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Avoidant Behavior

One of the biggest signs of this disorder is that many people display an avoidant behavior. They often avoid those situations that are highly social, in which they know that they would have to interact with other people. Is their brain wired to do this? Or do they just feel uncomfortable? This is something that has been debated for several years. However, since most of those who have this disorder do not have any idea that their behavior is off putting, they simply do not see anything wrong with the avoidant behavior that they have. To those who suffer with this, they are normal. They may even find you a little strange, especially if you are a social butterfly!

Schizoid Personality Disorder Treatment

For those who have Schizoid Personality Disorder, treatment is often harder than they realize. For one, those who suffer with this disorder often don’t know if they want to change. After all, they have survived this long without forming lasting connections with people and not being emotionally involved. The idea of change is one that is rather scary and one that they may feel is unnecessary. When a person does make the choice to make some changes in their life, there are a few treatment options that they have.

The use of psychotherapy aka talk therapy has been shown to be a great way to help those with this disorder. This type of therapy is meant to change those behaviors that are considered a problem, and it also helps to allow someone to start opening up about their personal life, a new idea for those who suffer with this disorder. The idea is that the therapist can guide you through this situation until you are feeling more comfortable with talking with others. The therapist will know when to push and when to back off when you are talking more personal, something that is constantly worked on while in therapy sessions.

Group therapy is also an option. With this option, sufferers are with others who suffer with the same disorder, which can make it easier to open up for several people. Many therapists find that group therapy is great for helping to increase the person’s social skills. Over time, the group becomes more of a support group and one that you can turn to when you feel you are going back to your old ways. It can be a great way to get with like minded individuals who are going through the same struggles as you are.

The final treatment method is through medication. It should be noted that there is no certain medication that is meant to cure SPD. However, there are medications that can be given that can help a person cope. For example, many SPD sufferers find that anxiety and depression are a problem. Thus, medications can be given to relieve these symptoms.

The treatment that is outlined for one patient, may not be what is given to another patient. Treatment is given to a person on a personal basis. Thus, what works for one may not work for another. Many therapists find that treatment is a lot of trial and error to see what works the best and what is not giving results.

Schizoid Personality Disorder is something that can be healed and can be changed. Those who suffer with this can get treatment that is going to help them live a fulfilling life if they take the time to find the treatment that works. However, be warned that those who suffer with this disorder may need some convincing from family members that they do need help, since the way they act is considered normal to them. Do you know someone that fits this description? If so, try to get them help as they will have a more fulfilling life if they are able to see what their problems are!

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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