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Schizoid Personality Disorder
Sometimes a person may not indulge in social interactions and may withdraw themselves from a social situation, which is perfectly fine. This can mean they are introverted or are experiencing discomfort and do not want to indulge in a social event. However, they do not have difficulty expressing their emotions or lack the desire to form personal and closed relationships. People may even behave distant if they wish to spend some alone time as too much may be happening around them. They may dissociate from the moment, for instance, miss a point during a meeting, or not understand what the other person is talking about for a moment. However, when this dissociation, along with traits such as being aloof, strange, or cold, behaving differently in their social relationships, impacts a person's personal, social, and work life, they may fall under schizoid personality disorder.
What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Personality disorders affect people's patterns of thinking and behaving toward other individuals in society. The difficulty of flexibility in personality generates distress and interferes with an individual's working functioning. Individuals with personality disorders have difficulty forming healthy relationships and have poor coping skills, unlike disorders like depression or anxiety. Individuals with anxiety or depression have some control over their thoughts and beliefs; people with schizoid personality disorder do not believe they have any issues within them and thus lack control over their beliefs and actions.
Defining schizoid personality disorder
A schizoid personality disorder is a group of conditions termed under cluster A. Individuals in this cluster of personality disorders have odd or eccentric thoughts. Regarding inter and interpersonal relationships, they tend to be distant and indifferent to social relationships. They are generally considered to be loners. The adjective "schizoid" was first used to characterize the signs and symptoms that preceded the onset of isolation and seclusiveness seen in schizophrenia. Schizoid personality type was officially recognized in DSM 3 in 1980 to describe those struggling to bear meaningful social relationships.
Due to the prefix "schizoid," which in Greek means split, schizophrenia and schizoid personality disorder sound the same but are way different. Although schizoid personality disorder shares similar symptoms to schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia, they are not similar. Symptoms they share are severe Limited ability to make connections in social life, and lack of expression of emotions, resulting in being viewed as odd or eccentric. Unlike schizophrenic, schizoid personality disorder individuals are in touch with their reality and do not experience hallucinations or Paranoia. They tend to be clear when they speak and have a conversational pattern that is not strange.
The causes for the development of schizoid personality disorder are not yet known, although researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors, particularly in an individual's early childhood, play a major role in its development.
Symptoms for SZPD
Signs and symptoms for diagnostic criteria for schizoid personality disorder according to DSM 5. Detachment from social interactions with a limited range of expressed emotion in interpersonal circumstances and begin in early adulthood by manifesting in a variety of setting as proven by the at least four followings −
- Close interaction is not enjoyed
- Opting for solitary activities
- Lack of close friends or companions
- Unconcerned about praises or criticism
- Emotional numbness, detachment, or being aloof
- Shallow emotional understanding
- Reduced participation in pleasurable activities
It is not caused by another medical condition and does not occur in the context of situations such as schizophrenia, manic depression, Autism spectrum disorder, or any other affective disorder with psychotic symptoms.
Problems and Complications
Lack of basic trust, excessive self-reliance and independence, dissociation, social fear, avoidant behavior, relationships that they can easily escape, frequent new relationships, behavior that may be narcissistic, elaborated fantasy, existential life fears, lack of emotional reaction to object relation and object consistency. The fundamental complication of schizoid personality disorder is a lack of social connection because they have not communicated with others before. Individuals with this personality disorder are seldom violent. Co-occurring disorders such as mood disorders, anxiety, schizotypal personality disorder, paranoid disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are all more prevalent than in the general population.
An individual with SZPD does not believe that they have problems within themselves. They prefer to be alone and avoid interacting with anyone, including the doctors and professionals, which results in hindrance during treatment.
- Psychotherapy− cognitive behavioral therapy helps change the belief and behaviors that are the root cause of the problem.
- Group therapy− helps to develop interpersonal skills and provides support and structure, improving the overall social skills of that individual.
- Family therapy− and social support can help individuals with SZPD develop closer relationships and become more confident, capable, and have a social life.
- Medication− there are not any specific medicines prescribed for this disorder, but they are treated generally with anti-anxiety, anti-depressants, antipsychotics, and other medications that are used to treat some symptoms of personality disorder but usually do not hold any evidence for its working.
Coping with SZPD
Due to the nature of this condition seeking professional health is a challenge for them, as individuals do not believe they have any problem and act aloof. It is important to develop coping skills in people with SZPD to help them minimize the experience of loneliness and isolation. Self-care, taking up any hobby, and looking for activities that can be done in a group setting that may not require a great deal of emotional investment are helpful in such cases.
A schizoid personality disorder is characterized by a tendency to be aloof, secretive, detached, lack interest in social relationships, and even be termed emotionally cold. The cause of SZPD is unknown, but evidence shows that genetic composition is a risk factor in the cluster of personality disorders. The effectiveness of treatment can be seen by providing psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and coping strategies. A schizoid personality disorder is linked with a pessimistic approach and outcomes with significantly compromised well-being and overall functioning.
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