What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by avoidance of social situations and close contact with other people. Persons with schizoid personalities often have a “flat affect” showing a lack of emotional expression with a mask like face. They are considered loners who manifest a profound inability to connect with other people. They do not form intimate relationships or close friendships and they are perceived as aloof, indifferent, and unengaged within a social environment. Persons with schizoid personalities may be married, but they do not form intimate relationships with their spouse. Similarly, they may hold jobs that do not require close interpersonal interactions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Schizoid Personality Disorder
How is a Schizoid Personality Disorder diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder should be mad by a mental health professional based on specifc criteria. A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder will demonstrate avoidant behavior in relation to other people and social situations. They may exhibit a lack of emotional expression. People suffering from schizoid personalities (and their families) often feel their hardships are compounded by a lack of clear diagnoses, effective treatments, and accurate information. Personality disorders are very difficult to correctly diagnose, and are often misdiagnosed because they are not sharply defined and lack a clear set of diagnostic criteria. Furthermore, the diagnostic categories are not mutually exclusive. Often, people will show characteristics of more than one personality disorder. Finally, the dimensionality of personality characteristics (i.e., ranging from normal expressions of an emotion to pathological exaggerations) make diagnosis difficult, as the same emotional issues can be found on a smaller and less intense scale in many normal individuals.
What are symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Persons with schizoid personalities show avoidant behaviors and a lack of intimate relationships. Their communication skills may be poorly developed. They may have difficulty expressing emotions, especially anger or hostility. They are often perceived as “aloof” or “uninterested.” A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder may prefer solitude to social interactions. They lack close friends and are considered loners. They are often indifferent to praise or criticism.
What causes Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Personality disorders are believed to be related to a person’s temperament. There is a higher risk of Schizoid Personality Disorder in families with a history of schizophrenia or schizoid personalities, but exact transmission patterns are unclear. Environmental risk factors include a home life where parents were aloof or unresponsive to the emotional needs of the child; a severe example would be a foster home where there was no love. Furthermore, childhood psychological trauma, including physical or sexual abuse, an unstable family life as a child, or severe loss (such as death of parents or siblings), results in a higher risk of development of Schizoid Personality Disorder.
What is the Prognosis for Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Schizoid Personality Disorder is a life-long disturbance with periods of quiescence and exacerbation (worsening) dependent on life circumstances. Research shows that long-term psychotherapy, sleep and stress management, and psycho-education, can significantly improve the functioning of someone with a schizoid personality. Persons with Schizoid Personality Disorder may be predisposed to other conditions, including depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, which can make treatment more difficult.
What factors can slow recovery?
Persons with Schizoid Personality Disorder usually have poor insight and thus they may be resistant or unwilling to seek treatment. They may enter treatment only in a time of crisis, and stay until it is resolved and then discontinue treatment. Persons with Schizoid Personality Disorder prefer to isolate themselves, and they may sabotage therapy to return to their secluded lives. Depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse, as discussed, are also common among persons with Schizoid Personality Disorder. Concurrent substance abuse interferes with effective psychological treatment. Persons with Schizoid Personality Disorder may be isolated from family or loved ones, thus lacking an effective social support structure.
How Can Friends and Family Help?
A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder usually has a weak social network, due to their isolating behaviors. Family and friends need to educate themselves about Schizoid Personality Disorder to learn how to help the person connect with their support structure. Family members are likely to help a person with Schizoid Personality Disorder enter a treatment facility, providing emotional support and financial resources.
When Should a Client enter a treatment center?
When a person with Schizoid Personality Disorder has isolated themselves, or is having serious problems that are negatively impacting their daily school or work life and personal and family relationships, an intensive treatment program is an appropriate option. When they are having a crisis period in their life, it is often a good time to get them to start a treatment plan. Oftentimes, once per week psychotherapy is ineffective at managing serious consequences of a schizoid personality. A treatment facility, like PCH Treatment Center, can be a more effective option than simple outpatient therapy, especially when the person with a personality disorder is unable to seek help on their own.
How does PCH Treatment Center treat Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Dr. Jeff Ball, the Executive and Clinical Director at PCH Treatment Center, has over 25 years of experience dealing with personality disorders on both outpatient and inpatient levels. Dr. Ball also has experience treating people with more severe psychological problems such as schizophrenia. Dr. Ball has assembled a highly experienced staff with extensive experience in addressing personality disorders. When a person with Schizoid Personality Disorder arrives at PCH Treatment Center they undergo a thorough initial assessment by a doctoral level therapist. At this time an appropriate diagnosis is made, and incorrect diagnoses or stigmatizing labels are discarded. Dr. William Wirshing, the PCH Treatment Center staff Psychiatrist evaluates each Client, and adjusts their medication regimen as necessary. At PCH Treatment Center we believe in utilizing the minimal amount of medication necessary (or no medication) in conjunction with holistic healing activites to promote recovery. Psychotherapy is the keystone to treatment, and Clients receive up to five individual psychotherapy sessions per week. This is complemented by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), anger management, sleep hygiene, psycho-education, neurofeedback and other modalities. Additionally, yoga, mindfulness meditation, music and art therapy and acupuncture are utilized to promote healing. Family therapy groups are also available which incorporate family members or significant others into the Client’s treatment environment.