The primary signs of schizotypal personality disorder are isolation from others and severe discomfort in social situations. People with schizotypal personalty disorder are often perceived as bizarre or eccentric, and their tendency to withdraw from social situations only worsens their inability to pick up on social cues and, in turn, their schizotypal symptoms.
Schizotypal Personality Traits
People who display schizotypal personality traits are intensely uncomfortable in social situations. They tend to keep to themselves, and this continued isolation leads to a distorted interpretation of normal social cues. Social anxiety that doesn’t ease in the company of familiar people is common with this disorder. As a result, people with schizotypal personality disorder typically do not have close relationships with people outside of their immediate family.
In addition, individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often act in odd or eccentric ways, and have unusual thought patterns that may involve magical thinking and delusions. For example, signs of schizotypal personality disorder may include the person believing he has special powers, along with the ability to influence the behavior and actions of others. Brief psychotic episodes may occur. However, unlike people with schizophrenia (which resembles schizotypal personality disorder in some ways), those with schizotypal symptoms can usually be convinced that their unusual beliefs do not align with reality.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms
Doctors typically look for nine specific schizotypal signs when considering a diagnosis of this disorder:
- Eccentric behavior and disheveled appearance
- Emotionally inexpressive, tendency to appear aloof and disinterested
- Few, if any, close friends
- Odd beliefs or magical thinking (such as a fixation on the paranormal)
- Paranoid thoughts and behaviors
- Skewed interpretation of events, such as misreading nonverbal cues
- Social anxiety that doesn’t improve with familiarity
- Strange perceptual experiences or illusions
- Unusual patterns of thinking and speech; prone to tangents and loosely associated ideas when speaking.
Shizotypal personality disorder falls on the schizophrenic spectrum; it is more severe than schizoid personality disorder but less severe than schizophrenia. Although one of the schizotypal signs is psychotic episodes, these are not usually as intense or as common as they are with schizophrenia. In addition, people with schizotypal personality traits can be made to see the differences between their perceptions and reality. Schizotypal personality disorder symptoms are most intense in young adults and tend to wane as the person ages.
Because of their tendency to withdraw from society, most people with schizotypal personality disorder won’t seek treatment on their own. However, a combination of therapy and prescription medication can help ease schizotypal personality disorder symptoms for some people.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Schizotypal-personality-disorder.html
Grohol, J. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx33.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/schizotypal-personality-disorder/DS00830