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Schizoid personality disorder


Definition:

Schizoid personality disorder is a mental condition in which a person has a lifelong pattern of indifference to others and social isolation.

Alternative Names:

Personality disorder - schizoid

Causes:

Cause of schizoid personality disorder is unknown. It may be related to schizophrenia and shares many of the same risk factors.

Schizoid personality disorder is not as disabling as schizophrenia. It does not cause the disconnection from reality (in the form of hallucinations or delusions) that occurs in untreated (or treatment-resistant) schizophrenia.

Symptoms:

A person with schizoid personality disorder often:

  • Appears distant and detached
  • Avoids social activities that involve emotional closeness with other people
  • Does not want or enjoy close relationships, even with family members
Exams and Tests:

This disorder is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation. The health care provider will consider how long and how severe the person's symptoms are.

Treatment:

People with this disorder will often not seek treatment. So, little is known about which treatments work. Talk therapy may not be effective because people with this disorder may have difficulty forming a good working relationship with a therapist.

One approach that seems to help is to put fewer demands for emotional closeness or intimacy on the person with this condition.

People with schizoid personality disorder often do well in relationships that do not focus on emotional closeness. They tend to be better at handling relationships that focus on:

  • Work
  • Intellectual activities
  • Expectations
Outlook (Prognosis):

Schizoid personality disorder is a long-term (chronic) illness that usually does not improve much over time. Social isolation often prevents the person from asking for help or support.

Limiting expectations of emotional intimacy may help people with this condition make and keep connections with other people.

References:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.

Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psyhchiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.

Triebwasser J, Chemerinski E, Roussos P, Siever LJ. Schizoid personality disorder. J Pers Disord. 2012;26:919-926. PMID 23281676. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23281676


Review Date: 10/31/2014
Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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