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Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is one of a number of ‘Cluster A’ disorders categorized as Personality Disorders. Patients with Schizoid Personality Disorder are usually distant, detached, and indifferent in social relationships. They are loners who prefer solitary activities and they rarely express strong emotions. Though some symptoms of SPD may be similar to those exhibited in Schizophrenia, the disorder is not the same. Many people with schizoid personality disorder are able to function well in society, though they do tend to choose jobs where they can work alone. SPD patients are introverted, withdrawn, solitary, emotionally cold and distant. They are absorbed with their own thoughts and fear intimacy, exhibiting indifference to their surroundings and to others in their family or circle of friends. The cause of schizoid personality disorder is not known, though it is suspected that genetics and environmentcan play a part. Some doctors speculate that a childhood absent of warmth and emotion can contribute to the development of this disorder. Patients with a family history of schizophrenia are more susceptible to this disorder.
It is important to distinguish SPD from other disorders with similar symptoms, like schizophrenia (SPD does not include hallucinations, delusions, or disconnection from reality), and from Avoidant Personality Disorder (unlike APD patients, SPD patients really do prefer to be alone). Narcissistic Personality Disorder patients may exhibit some signs of SPD, because they often lack empathy and are cold toward others, but their desire to be alone is driven, instead, by the idea that most people are not worthy of their company). So while the schizoid and the narcissist are both disinterested in social interaction, the narcissist is incapable because of his lack of empathy and sense of grandiosity. The prevalence of SPD may be hidden by the fact that many SPD patients do not seek treatment.
What are the symptoms?
Less severe symptoms of this disorder may be diagnosed as Solitary Personality, and are not considered a classic ‘disorder’.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Doctors will perform standard physical and mental health testing to rule out other disorders and disease. Some disorders that may mimic the symptoms of SPD include Schizophrenia, Avoidant Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Solitary Personality Type is a non-pathological form of this condition and typically does not require treatment.
To diagnose SPD, at least three of the following signs must be present:
Treatment(s) can include:
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