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Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Schizoid personality disorder is a chronic and pervasive condition characterized by social isolation and feelings of indifference toward other people. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options of Schizoid Personality Disorder.

By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 25, 2023

What Is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Schizoid personality disorder definition: Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a chronic and pervasive condition characterized by social isolation and feelings of indifference toward other people. Those who live with this disorder are often described as distant or withdrawn and tend to avoid social situations that involve interaction with other people. However, people with this mental health disorder are able to function fairly well in society.

A schizoid personality disorder isn’t the same as schizophrenia. This is a common misconception. They’re actually two different mental health conditions. The main difference between the two conditions is that people who have schizophrenia have persistent symptoms of psychosis, like hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that others don’t) or delusions (false beliefs). People with schizoid personality disorder don’t experience distortions of reality.

A schizoid personality disorder is one of three disorders that make up cluster A personality disorder. Cluster A includes paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders. The adjective “schizoid” was originally coined to describe the prodromal seclusiveness and isolation observed in schizophrenia. The schizoid personality type was made official in DSM III in 1980, to describe persons experiencing significant ineptitude in forming meaningful social relationships.

What Are Personality Disorders?

People with personality disorders have ingrained thoughts and behavior patterns that are different from what society views as typical or normal. Their personality’s rigidity can be very upsetting and interfere with many aspects of daily life, including how well they function in social and professional settings. In general, people with personality disorders struggle to cope and have a hard time building healthy relationships.

People with personality disorders frequently are not aware that they have a problem and do not believe they have anything to control, in contrast to people with anxiety or depressive disorders who are aware of their problem but unable to control it. People with personality disorders frequently do not seek treatment because they do not think they have a problem.

What Causes Schizoid Personality Disorder? 

A schizoid personality disorder is a chronic lifelong behavior pattern, stemming from childhood. As stated before, there is a suggested heritability to the disorder, but specific genetic causes have not been identified. Specific anatomic abnormalities (localized brain lobe lesions) and biochemical or neurotransmitter-associated diseases are suggested in the literature to have a role in the development of this disorder; however, these are purely speculative at this point.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder, you may be wondering about the reasons why you have a schizoid personality disorder. There’s actually no consensus within the medical community regarding what really causes a personality disorder. It’s commonly believed that it may be a combination of these factors:

  • Environmental influences
  • Genetics and biology
  • Cultural and social influences
  • Childhood relationships
  • Early life experiences

In the case of schizoid personality disorder, there might be a tendency to develop the disorder if there’s a first-degree relative who’s received a diagnosis of:

  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

However, this doesn’t mean it happens every time. Other research suggests that severe loneliness and depression during the early years of life are associated with the development of schizoid personality disorder. This could be related to experiences of:

A schizoid personality disorder is frequently found to be co-morbid with substance abuse. Substance use may mask some symptoms of schizoid or, on the other hand, intensify them.
A schizoid personality disorder is frequently found to be co-morbid with substance abuse. Substance use may mask some symptoms of schizoid or, on the other hand, intensify them.

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Basically, there’s not enough analysis on schizoid personality disorder specifically to fully establish or understand its causes and risk factors.

Schizoid Personality Disorder Fact Sheet

Also Known As SPD


Overview

A condition where people avoid interacting with others and participating in social activities.

Schizoid personality disorder typically begins to develop in early adulthood. People with this condition are frequently perceived as loners because they don’t want or value close relationships, not even with their families. They might be emotionally distant and cold. Antidepressants or mood stabilizers, along with therapy, can be helpful.


Schizoid Personality Disorder Causes

Schizoid personality disorder has no known cause, but it may be influenced by a number of genetic and environmental factors, particularly those present during early childhood.


Effects

People with schizoid personality disorder are typically able to function in daily life, despite some of their peculiar behaviors. However, it’s possible that they won’t establish loving relationships or start families of their own. They may occasionally experience social, financial, and occupational disabilities, according to studies.


Does Schizoid Personality Disorder Require A Medical Diagnosis?

Yes, Schizoid Personality Disorder requires a medical diagnosis. People with this condition are frequently perceived as loners because they don’t want or value close relationships, not even with their families. They might be emotionally distant and cold.


Schizoid Personality Disorder Treatments

Therapy and medications, like antidepressants or mood stabilizers, can be helpful in the treatment process.

Schizoid Personality Disorder Therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A talk therapy that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychological distress.
  • Psychotherapy: Treatment of mental or behavioral disorders through talk therapy.

How Common Is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Schizoid personality disorder is common with more than 200,00 diagnoses in the United States Of America every year.

  • This condition cannot be cured, but treatment can help.
  • Requires a diagnosis from a doctor.
  • No need for imaging or laboratory tests.
  • Chronic: lasting for years or forever

Signs Of Schizoid Personality Disorder

  • Avoidance of close ties, including those with family.
  • Preference for activities performed alone.
  • There is little to no interest in engaging in sexual activity with another person.
  • Little, if any, time was spent on activities.
  • Lack of close confidants or friends.
  • Disregard for other people’s viewpoints.

Diagnosis

Specific symptoms, such as emotional restraint and disinterest in social interactions, are used by doctors to make the diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder. People with this disorder might benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy that emphasizes developing social skills.


Symptoms

Common symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder include Social exclusion, apathy toward compliments, a lack of close friends, a narrow emotional spectrum, decreased sex drive, and relationship avoidance.


Schizoid Personality Disorder Specialists

  • Clinical Psychologist: uses talk therapy as the primary treatment for mental disorders.
  • Psychiatrist: uses medication as the main treatment for mental disorders.
  • Primary Care Provider (PCP): disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Schizoid Personality Disorder Statistics

Despite the lack of conclusive information regarding the etiology of SPD, it is assumed that heritability plays a significant role in its phenotype. Heritability rates for schizoid personality disorder have been estimated to be around 30% based on twin studies using self-report questionnaires. If any environmental factors exist, it is unknown what role they play in this disorder.


30%

Heritability rates for schizoid personality disorder have been estimated to be around 30%.

Source: NIH

1%

Studies indicate that less than 1% of people have this disorder.

Source: NIH

9.1%

9.1% of people have a personality disorder.

Source: NIH


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What Are The Symptoms Of Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Schizoid personality disorder patients frequently lead solitary lives and plan their schedules to limit social interaction. Many people either never get married or may still live with their parents as adults. The following are additional characteristics of those who have this disorder:

  • Even with family, they do not desire or value close relationships.
  • They favor solitary endeavors and employment.
  • They enjoy very few things, including having sex.
  • Other than first-degree relatives, they don’t have any close friends.
  • They have a hard time connecting with others.
  • They don’t care if you compliment or criticize them.
  • They don’t show much emotion and are distant.
  • They may daydream or conjure up vivid fantasies of intricate inner selves.

How Common is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

It’s estimated that about 7.5% of the global population has a schizoid personality disorder. This mental condition affects up to 5% of people in the United States, making it a common personality disorder. It’s twice as common among males than females. People who have relatives with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder are at an increased risk for schizoid personality disorder.

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Do I Have Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Think you might have schizoid personality disorder? Perhaps you find it challenging to express yourself emotionally and build relationships with others — though you truly want to connect. You deeply believe you can’t trust anyone but yourself. Fearing what might happen if you get too close, you spend a lot of time lost in your own thoughts.

These key traits of schizoid personality disorder show up internally. So people around you may simply decide you’re a quiet, private person, or assume interpersonal relationships are not your strong point.

The general lack of awareness surrounding this personality disorder means even you may not realize the underlying causes of the behaviors you’ve adopted to protect yourself. You only know they create distress.

That said, if you have come across any information about the condition, you may realize some signs reflect your inner experience. Learning more about schizoid personality disorder can help you take steps toward getting the right kind of support.

Here’s a more sign of what living with a schizoid personality disorder may feel like:

You avoid close relationships

This avoidance stems from an overarching need for safety. You might want an intimate relationship, but your need to feel safe remains more important. Since you consider other people a potential source of danger, you find bonding with others extremely difficult.

You prefer solitary activities and pastimes

Living with schizoid personality disorder tends to mean you’re extremely independent and mostly keep to yourself. 

You have little interest in sex

When you find it difficult to trust others and usually feel unsafe in social situations, it’s only natural you’d lack interest in physical intimacy. Healthy relationships require trust, after all. So when having sex, you might feel somewhat detached and disconnected rather than enjoy the experience.

Support from an experienced therapist can always have benefits. Just know that therapy may take time. 
Support from an experienced therapist can always have benefits. Just know that therapy may take time. 

You don’t often feel excited

People with schizoid personality disorder generally learn to dissociate from situations when they feel unsafe or stressed. Over time, this dissociation can become a reflex, leaving you feeling detached and disconnected more often than not.

You have very few friends or confidants

To you, people are either safe or unsafe. Unsafe people (usually the vast majority) are best avoided. Believing you can’t trust others can, understandably, make it hard to confide in anyone. This avoidance, however, often prompts an overwhelming sense of loneliness. People with schizoid personality disorder often develop a close bond with one “safety person,” This friend or family member doesn’t feel threatened, so you find it possible to let them in, to some extent.

You keep your emotions to yourself

With SPD, you certainly experience emotions. But dissociation and detachment can leave you feeling cut off from them. Emotions reflect another layer of vulnerability. Sharing feelings with others means trusting them with your concerns and difficulties — something that could threaten your sense of safety further. Instead of risking pain, you shut down completely in order to protect yourself.

How Do You Get Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Children gradually develop the ability to recognize and appropriately respond to social cues as part of normal development. SPD has no known cause, but it may be influenced by a number of genetic and environmental factors, particularly those present during early childhood.

Social Anxiety Disorder vs Schizoid Personality Disorder

Individuals with SPD are not interested in relationships, at least on a conscious level, and they mostly prefer their solitude. Their avoidance is not a result of fear, but rather has to do with social indifference and a need for personal space.

This leaves us with social anxiety disorder, a mental condition in which fear plays a major role. People suffering from social anxiety experience overwhelming feelings of self-consciousness and anxiousness when dealing with social interactions due to fear of humiliation and embarrassment. They usually react to the anxiety they experience.

Schizoid Personality Disorder vs Autism

Schizoid personality disorder and autism can be confused with one another because of this. A 2014 study discovered a significant connection between a number of traits in both conditions. The overlap was especially evident for characteristics like peculiar speech, beliefs, or behavior that lead to ad hoc social interactions.

Avoidant Personality Disorder vs Schizoid

Rejection by peers and emotional neglect in childhood are both regarded as risk factors for the development of avoidant personalities. Early adulthood is typically when it manifests. Other contributing factors might include stuttering and temperamental traits, which are regarded as genetic. Schizoid personalities are thought to have genetic roots. It also results from uncaring, negligent parenting. It is typically observed in family members of schizophrenics.

Schizoid Personality Disorder vs Schizophrenia

While SPD is considered one of the schizophrenia spectrum disorders and shares some common symptoms with schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, there are important distinctions that separate SPD from those two disorders.

Those with SPD rarely experience paranoia or hallucinations. Also, while they may seem aloof and distant during conversations, they do make sense when they speak, which differs from the difficult-to-follow speech patterns that are often demonstrated by people with schizophrenia.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder vs Schizoid

SPD does not exhibit paranoid ideation or suspicion, which is the main distinction between schizotypal and schizoid personality disorders. This means that those who have a schizoid diagnosis won’t worry too much about the motives of other people or that someone is out to get them.

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How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Diagnosed? 

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you may start by consulting your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and check for any underlying medical conditions that might be contributing to your symptoms. In most cases, you will likely then be referred to a mental health professional. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria state that people must display at least four of the following symptoms in order to be diagnosed with SPD:

  • Always chooses solitary activities
  • Emotional detachment and lack of emotional expression
  • Experiences little pleasure from activities
  • Indifference to criticism or praise
  • Lack of desire or enjoyment for close personal relationships
  • Little or no interest in sex with other people
  • No close friends other than immediate family

A SPD is most often diagnosed by a psychiatrist or another mental health professional who is trained to diagnose and treat personality disorders. General practitioners often lack the training to make this type of diagnosis, especially since the condition is so uncommon and is often confused with other mental disorders. People who have SPD rarely seek out treatment on their own. It is often only after the condition has severely interrupted multiple areas of a person’s life that treatment is sought. 

How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Treated?

If your doctor diagnoses you with SPD, your doctor may prescribe medication or therapy to treat it. No medications are designed to treat SPD specifically. However, some individuals with this condition benefit from taking antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs if they’re experiencing symptoms that their doctor thinks to be improved with these medications.

Several types of therapy can be used as a treatment for schizoid personality disorder. Talk therapy or psychotherapy can help you learn how to form relationships. You can get this type of therapy along with social skills training to help you feel more comfortable in social situations.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for SPD (CBT) can help you address some of the behaviors associated with your condition. Your therapist can help you learn how to act in social situations and respond to social cues. They can also help you learn to recognize unusual or harmful thoughts and change them. Family therapy may be helpful, especially if you live with others. It can help you strengthen your relationships with family members. It may also help you to feel more supported by your family.

What Are The Complications Of Schizoid Personality Disorder?

SPD’s primary complication is a lack of social interaction. Due to their preference for avoiding social interaction, individuals with this personality disorder rarely engage in violence. There may also be a higher prevalence of co-occurring disorders than in the general population, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and other personality disorders.

What Is The Outlook For People With Schizoid Personality Disorder?

People with SPD are typically able to function in daily life, despite some of their peculiar behaviors. However, it’s possible that they won’t establish loving relationships or start families of their own. They may occasionally experience social, financial, and occupational disabilities, according to studies.

Can Schizoid Personality Disorder Be Prevented?

SPD cannot be prevented, as far as is known.

Schizoid Personality Disorder And Substance Abuse

People with SPD seem to be at greater risk of developing schizotypal personality disorder or schizophrenia, as well as anxiety or depression, but addiction is not specifically listed as a complication. However, anxiety and depression can all too often lead to a substance use disorder. Addiction recovery can be a unique challenge for people with SPD because treatment environments can press certain social requirements.

People with SPD are far less likely to seek treatment in the first place because it means meeting and interacting with other people. Since the primary treatment – as it is with all personality disorders – is therapy, that means not only interacting with another person, but interacting on a deep, honest, emotional level – something people with SPD avoid to as great a degree as possible.

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  1. What is the process of treating Schizoid Personality Disorder?

    Therapy may be beneficial. A modified version of cognitive behavioral therapy may be able to assist you in altering problematic thoughts and behaviors if you’d like to improve your relationships.

  2. What is the best treatment of Schizoid Personality Disorder?

    Talk therapy is considered one of the best options for treatment Schizoid Personality Disorder.

  3. What are the causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder?

    Schizoid personality disorder has no known etiology, but it may be influenced by a number of genetic and environmental factors, particularly those present during early life.

  4. What is the difference between Schizoid Personality Disorder Vs Schizotypal?

    Schizoid versus Schizotypal personality disorder: If you are wondering, “what is the difference between Schizoid Vs Schizotypal Personality Disorder?”, “what is the difference between Schizoid Personality Disorder Vs Schizotypal Personality Disorder”, “what is the difference between Schizotypal Vs Schizoid Personality Disorder”, or “what is the difference between Schizotypal versus Schizoid Personality Disorder?”, the answer is that Schizoid personality disorder patients frequently have little interest in their illness or in making changes to their quality of life. Conversely, someone with a schizotypal personality disorder will probably experience a lot of anxiety and depression as they struggle in their relationships and feel awkward in social settings.

  5. What are the Schizoid Personality Disorders symptoms?

    People with this illness are frequently perceived as loners since they don’t want or value close relationships, not even with their family. They could be emotionally distant and frigid.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

To determine the most effective ways to treat SPD and substance abuse, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of depression is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to alcohol use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of alcohol withdrawals.

Psychotherapy for Depression

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Person Centered Therapy – a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Alcoholism and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for alcohol use disorder and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up NJ can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

By connecting with high-quality care, such as group activities, you can help your loved one and your family starts on the journey toward recovery.
By connecting with high-quality care, such as group activities, you can help your loved one and your family starts on the journey toward recovery.

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