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Schizoaffective disorder

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 SPD patients are introverted, withdrawn, solitary, emotionally cold and distant.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?

  • Has few or no close friends, associates
  • Shows emotional detachment in most if not all circumstances
  • May never marry, continues to live with parents far into adulthood
  • Indifferent to praise or criticism
  • Is not proactive, likes to daydream
  • Prefers solitary activities
  • Little or no interest in sexual experiences with another person
  • Pervasive detachment from social relationships, restricted range of emotion
  • Is aloof and detached

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:

  • Patient finds pleasure in few if any.phpects of life
  • Is unaffected by praise or criticism
  • Little or no interest in sex with others
  • Has few if any friends
  • Appears unemotional, cold, distant, unfeeling, does not express anger or warmth
  • Prefers to work and participate in activities alone
  • Preoccupied with daydreaming and fantasy
  • Symptoms do not occur as part of a schizophrenic or mood disorder episode

Treatment(s) can include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Behavioral Therapy and Coping Skills to overcome fear of interaction and attachment
  • Group Therapy
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Medication if appropriate: Medication is not typically used for this disorder, except where anti-anxiety medication may be of help with severe symptoms

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An estimated 6.5 million adults in the U.S. (3.1 %) have schizoid personality disorder. Studies have varied regarding the prevalence since this personality disorder is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Schizoid personality disorder affects more than women, and is more common in people who have a family history of schizophrenia. Schizoid personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood.

The Department of Health in the United Kingdom reports the following findings: 0.001% of hospital consultations were for schizoid personality, 92% of these patients required hospital admission. 35% were for men. 65% were for women (these gender specific statistics may appear to be reversed because men rarely seek treatment for this disorder). The mean age of the patients hospitalized was age 42. 97% of the patients seen with schizoid personality disorder occurred in patients age 15 to 59. Only 1% occurred in people over 75.

If you are in a crisis please call:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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