As a colloquial term, schizoid is usually used to describe someone who can’t decide about something or is confused. However, there are much deeper meanings for the term in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM-V), and it definitely isn’t applied to your friend who can’t decide where to order food from.
Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is not synonymous with schizophrenia. While schizophrenia is a disorder marked by dissociation from reality and persistent hallucinations, SPD is a condition rooted in reality. This is a rare condition where the affected person does not desire to form intimate social relationships and remains almost indifferent in most situations.
In this post, we will dive deeper into the condition and understand what it means, its symptoms, causes, and available treatment options. Let’s get started.
What Is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Personality disorders affect a person’s idea of self. It affects their way of thinking, behaving, and feeling, which causes immense distress and disruption in their lives. Personality disorders are clubbed into three different clusters under DSM-V. SPD is grouped under Cluster A, along with paranoid and schizotypal personality disorders.
SPD is characterized by social isolation and marked detachment in personal relationships. People with schizoid disorder cannot express themselves emotionally and live isolated.
Estimates by Mark Zimmerman show that the disorder affects 3-5% of the US population and is frequently misdiagnosed as avoidant personality disorder.
Signs And Symptoms
According to the DSM-V, a person must have at least four of these symptoms in order to be diagnosed with SPD:
- no desire for relationships,
- no enjoyment or happiness from relationships,
- preference toward solitary activities,
- limited to negligible sexual activity,
- lack of close friends or loved ones,
- indifference toward criticism,
- emotional detachment, and
The leading causes of schizoid personality disorder are generally childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences. In such cases, children usually grow up aware they can’t trust who is actually supposed to care for them. Eventually, the child internalizes that emotional attachment and relationships are unsafe and completely dissociates from them.
Apart from these, certain prenatal risk factors are also associated with the onset of SPD, including the following:
- not getting enough calories in the womb, and
- premature breath, generally before 37 weeks.
Additionally, as per research by Sura Sanem Köse, a traumatic brain injury can increase the chances of developing schizoid personality disorder. Other than this, individualistic cultures that favor self-sufficiency and independence might have more reported cases of SPD.
Therapy is generally not the favored option for people with SPD as they may regularly skip sessions or never schedule one in the first place. Even if they get to one, they might refuse to form a personal connection and open up. However, psychodynamic therapy is considered useful for schizoid personality disorder. It involves contemplating your own actions and feeling with the help of an expert to make progress.
While there are no specific medications prescribed for SPD, healthcare professionals use a combination of multiple drugs to help with the symptoms. Medications used for schizophrenia are generally useful with SPD as well. Apart from these, stimulants, which are used to motivate people with depressive disorders, are also helpful.
Disclaimer: The above-suggested medications should only be used after proper diagnosis and discussion with professionals. Unregulated use can be life-threatening.
Clustered under type A personality disorders, schizoid personality disorder is defined by social isolation and marked detachment from any form of personal relationships. Such individuals generally live a solitary lifestyle and have a limited ability to express themselves. Medications, therapy, and group activities might help deal with SPD.
Apart from schizoid, there are two other types of Cluster A personality disorders. To learn more about them, click here.
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