Schizotypal personality disorder is a mental disorder on the schizophrenic spectrum. The disorder is characterized by eccentric behavior, paranoia, delusional thinking, social anxiety and avoidance of social relationships. Left untreated, schizotypal personality disorder can force a person into total isolation. However, a combination of therapy and medication can help people with this condition cope with their symptoms.
Treatment for Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Medications
No specific medication for schizotypal treatment exists. However, certain drugs may alleviate some symptoms of the disorder. For example, brief psychotic episodes are common with schizotypal personality disorders, particularly in times of stress. Short-term use of an antidepressant with antipsychotic properties, such as amoxapine, can relieve depressive and psychotic symptoms. Other antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, can ease symptoms of paranoia, anxiety and depression, while drugs like risperidone and olanzapine can help manage syptoms of distorted thinking.
Treating Schizotypal Personality Disorders with Therapy
Medication alone is not an adequate treatment for schizotypal personality disorder. As with many other mental disorders, the best treatment is therapy with a qualified psychiatrist. Personality disorder treatment with therapy is difficult, however, because of the schizotypal patient’s general avoidance and mistrust of other people. Most people with schizotypal personality disorder never seek treatment on their own, and because of their lack of social connections, they often have no one to encourage them to seek help.
Types of Therapy for Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Psychiatrists may use one of several therapeutic approaches during schizotypal personality treatment. The first is psychotherapy. With this type of treatment, the psychiatrist works to gain the patient’s confidence with the hope that the patient can then apply the same level of trust to other relationships. Psychotherapy works best for high-functioning schizotypals who already have some degree of warmth and understanding toward other people.
In cognitive-behavioral therapy, the psychiatrist attempts to have the patient recognize distorted thought patterns and behaviors and adopt healthier ones. This type of therapy requires a deep level of trust between the psychiatrist and the patient because the psychiatrist must be able to give the patient feedback about his speech, appearance and behaviors.
Interpersonal therapy is another method for treating schizotypal personality disorders. In this approach, the psychiatrist remains emotionally distant, allowing the schizotypal patient time to work through his feelings of social anxiety and mistrust. The psychiatrist’s goal is to gain trust by not forcing anything on the patient. Once the psychiatrist has the patient’s trust, he can begin working with the patient to improve eccentric behaviors and distorted thought patterns.
Group therapy is sometimes a good schizotypal personality treatment. It provides a safe environment for people with schizotypal personality disorder to learn to relate to one another. However, only high-functioning schizotypals should attempt group therapy. Patients who exhibit bizarre behavior or psychotic episodes would be disruptive to the group dynamic and would benefit more from one-on-one therapy.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Schizotypal-personality-disorder.html
Grohol, J. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx33.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/schizotypal-personality-disorder/DS00830