Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is best described as a personality disorder that is characterized by the need or desire for social isolation, odd thinking or behavior, unconventional beliefs and anxiety when exposed in social situations.
People with this disorder experience extreme discomfort when it comes to maintenance of close relationships as such they don’t form such relationships. In addition to this, they also display manners of dressing and talking that are peculiar and have a hard time forming relationships. In other cases, they will act oddly during conversations or not respond at all.
Frequently, they will misinterpret situations as strange or believe they have an unusual meaning. With such people, superstitious and paranormal beliefs are common. In most cases, individuals with this disorder end up seeking treatment for depression or anxiety thus overlooking the real problem which is personality disorder.
Individuals with schizotypal disorder will often display the following symptoms:
- Odd fantasies, beliefs or behavior
- Eccentric behavior and appearance
- Difficulty following conversations and odd speech
- Perceptual experiences that are unusual
- They will have few close friends or none
- Paranoia and suspicion
Majority of those with this disorder tend to join cults because they want to feel like they belong.
The cause of schizotypal disorder is not yet known. While this is the case, research indicates that those individuals with the disorder come from families with relatives who are schizophrenics. In order to diagnose the disorder early, family history awareness is important. Personality disorders often have enduring and long standing patterns of behavior as such, they are diagnosed in adulthood.
It is not easy for this disorder to be diagnosed in adolescence or childhood because then, the teen or child is going through constant development, maturation and personality changes. Like most other personality disorders, the intensity of schizotypal personality disorder decreases with age with those in their 40’s or 50’s showcasing extreme symptoms. Genetic, social and environmental factors are also known to play a major role in causing schizotypal personality disorder.
Schizotypal disorder is diagnosed by mental health professionals who are trained like psychiatrists or psychologists. General practitioners and family physicians are not well equipped or trained to diagnose this type of disorder.
Majority of people with schizotypal disorder often don’t seek treatment until it begins to impact or interfere with their life.
Treatment of schizotypal disorder involves long term psychotherapy. This should be done by therapists with experience treating this type of personality disorder. There are also medications that might be prescribed in order to assist with specific debilitating and troubling symptoms.
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