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Beyond Emotionless: Schizoid Personality Disorder

An edited image of a man with two personalities. / Photo by: Lucian Milasan via 123RF

 

Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is characterized as a condition wherein a person constantly isolates themselves and are indifferent towards other people. They are often perceived as cold and withdrawn, says Kendra Cherry, author of the second edition of Everything Psychology Book.

The occurrence of this personality disorder is between one to three percent in the general population, as indicated by ietherapy.com. It is found to be more common among males than females.

 

What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

 

Internet Mental Health characterizes people who have SPD as those who are moderate to severely detach from others. This detachment appears in how they are socially withdrawn, are inclined to avoid having intimate relationships with others and showing restricted emotions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Schizoid Personality Disorder is a rare medical condition where an individual may refrain from engaging in social activities, tend to avoid interacting with others and have a limited range of emotional expression.

 

What Are Its Symptoms?

An unhappy woman standing alone. / Photo by: Axel Bueckert via 123RF

 

Signs that a person has this condition may appear in early adulthood but some symptoms can also be detected during their childhood. These traits may prevent them from functioning well in their school, career and their life as a whole.

Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder include:

1. Preference for solitary activities

2. Not being able to feel pleasure from having close relationships

3. Barely feels or does not at all have a desire for sexual relationships

4. Unable to experience enjoyment

5. Finding it hard to react or express emotions

6. May appear to not have a sense of humor or be indifferent to others

7. Not having any motivations or goals

8. Not reacting to praise or criticism

Since people who are diagnosed with this condition prefer being by themselves, their isolation can result in them feeling lonely. They are seen as having a limited number of friends, be seldom dating and often end up not being able to marry.

Even though it is part of the same cluster as schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, it differs in the way that a person experiencing the symptoms of SPD is very much aware of reality and do not hallucinations and rarely feel paranoia.

 

Causes

 

Just like several other personality disorders, the precise cause of Schizoid Personality Disorder is unknown. Healthline suggests that there may be some factors that can lead a person to suffer from this:

1. Genetic factors, such as having relatives who suffer from schizophrenia, SPD or schizotypal personality disorder

2. Environmental factors which are known to have the most influence on them

3. Being abused or neglected in their childhood

4. Having a parent that is emotionally detached from them

Being affected by this personality disorder may also increase the risk of a person developing anxiety disorders, Major depression, having other personality disorders and other delusional disorders.

 

Treatment

A group sharing session. / Photo by: Ian Allenden via 123RF

 

Unfortunately, individuals who are affected by SPD tend to not seek help from mental health professionals. They find it difficult to cooperate with a therapist because they even have a hard time dealing with relationships. Their disorder is known to be constant, lasting a lifetime and enduring. Their social isolation can cause them to be unable to look for help or support.

They may be able to connect with others easier if they concentrate on intellectual, occupational or activities that focus on relaxation and amusement. This is because these pursuits do not require them to share anything personal and do not depend on having any social intimacy.

Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder involves therapy and medication. Unless therapy is shown to be ineffective, medication is not often used.

Some forms of therapy a person diagnosed with SPD are:

 

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapy aims to change an individual’s behavior. A patient will be taught by a therapist some alternate ways of thinking and behaviors in social situations. If they choose to go through CBT, it can aid them in reforming their hesitation in seeking social connections.

 

2. Group Therapy

Undergoing group therapy can help the patient hone their social skills. This can lead them to be more at ease in social situations.
 

General goals of the treatment of Schizoid Personality Disorder may include being able to develop closer relationships, being able to participate in more social activities, being able to improve their ability to express emotions, being more receptive to people’s praise or criticism, partaking in more pleasurable activities, increasing their interest to have sexual experiences with someone else and to gain close friends.

Some medications they may be told to take may consist of medicines designed to address their symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

Despite Schizoid Personality Disorder having no specific cure, referring to an individual who has this condition to a mental health professional may benefit them and be of great assistance to them. If the patient is willing to participate in the suggested therapies, there is a higher probability of them being healed from it.



 

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