Schizoid Personality Disorder

Aloof, indifferent, unable to experience pleasure, seemingly incapable of interacting socially – these are some of the indicators of schizoid personality disorder. When a woman is diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, she may not want treatment, preferring to be left alone. While developing a warm, productive therapeutic relationship may seem impossible, women with schizoid personality disorder can find help at Malibu Vista and make progress toward meaningful goals.

What Is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Schizoid personality disorder, also called eccentric personality disorder, is part of a group of conditions called “Cluster A” personality disorders. Schizoid personality disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has a lifelong pattern of social isolation and indifference to others. People with this disorder may go out of their way to avoid being with others, including doctors. They may be so used to living their lives without any emotional closeness that they don’t see the need or feel the desire to change. When they do receive treatment, it is often very difficult for them to open up to their therapist.

Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder

People with schizoid personality disorder organize their lives to avoid contact with others. They may never marry and many continue to live with their parents as adults. They have little to say, for the most part, and may engage in daydreaming or fantasizing as a means of coping. Individuals with schizoid personality disorder may exhibit a number of symptoms, including:

  • Preferring to be alone or doing solitary activities
  • Appearing aloof and detached
  • Indifferent to criticism or praise
  • Confused about how to respond to social cues
  • Lack of desire for sexual relationships
  • Shuns and does not enjoy close relationships, even with family members
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • May daydream or create fantasies about complex inner lives
  • Unmotivated, leading to underperformance at work and school
  • Following rather than leading

Causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder

The causes of schizoid personality disorder are unknown. Although the disorder shares many of the same risk factors as schizophrenia, schizoid personality disorder is not generally as disabling in that it doesn’t cause the same disconnection from reality, such as hallucinations or delusions, which can occur in people with schizophrenia.

Risk Factors for Schizoid Personality Disorder

Genetics and environment are thought to play a role. Speculation among some mental health professionals is that a bleak childhood where little warmth and emotion were present may contribute to the development of the disorder. The higher risk of schizoid personality disorder in families of schizophrenics points to the possibility of a genetic susceptibility for the disorder to be inherited. It’s difficult to accurately assess how widespread the disorder is, given that many people with it rarely seek treatment. According to a 2007 study, about 0.9 percent of the U.S. population met the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ criteria for schizoid personality disorder. Schizoid personality disorder affects men more often than women. The disorder usually begins in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder

At Malibu Vista, our compassionate professionals understand that opening up to others is often difficult, and will continue to reach out to clients so that they can make significant progress toward their goals. During treatment, medications may be prescribed to help with some symptoms of schizoid personality disorder, as well as associated symptoms of anxiety or depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may help women to change problematic beliefs and behaviors, increase sensitivity to interpersonal cues, and develop new social skills. Group therapy helps our clients interact with other women who are also practicing new interpersonal skills and develop a support network that may help increase their social functioning.

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