Schizotypal Personality

1 What is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

Described as eccentric or odd and usually have a few close relationships are people who have schizotypal personality disorder.

They do not understand relationships and mostly they misinterpret the motivation and behavior of other people which can lead to significant distrust.

As the person with this disorder inappropriately responds to social cues and holds peculiar belief, these may lead to severe anxiety that can lead to turn inward in social situations.

This is diagnosed in early adulthood and some symptoms may improve with age with medications and therapy.

2 Symptoms

If you have schizotypal personality disorder, there will be five or more symptoms such as:

  • being a loner and lacking close friends outside of the immediate family,
  • eccentric, peculiar and unusual thinking,
  • incorrect interpretation of events, you are feeling that something is actually inoffensive or harmless has a direct meaning,
  • belief in special power like superstitious or mental telepathy,
  • dressing in peculiar way like wearing oddly matched clothes,
  • excessive and persistent social anxiety,
  • unusual perceptions like having illusions,
  • suspicious or paranoid thoughts,
  • constant doubts about loyalty of others,
  • flat emotions or limited and inappropriate responses,
  • peculiar style of speech like unusual or vague patterns of speaking.

This may be seen in teen years and a kid may underperform in school which can lead to being teased or bullied.

Do not confuse schizotypal personality disorder with schizophrenia that is a severe mental illness that can lead to people losing contact with reality (psychosis).

In schizotypal personality disorder the episodes are not frequent, intense or prolonged like schizophrenia but may experience brief psychotic episodes with hallucinations and delusions. People with schizotypal personality disorder know what real and what is not while people with schizophrenia they cannot be swayed away with their delusions.

You can suggest gently to a person to seek medical attention if you suspect that he/she has schizotypal personality disorder to help her/him.

3 Causes

There is no certain cause for schizotypal personality disorder but it is believed that genetics and changes in the brain functions may play a role.

The combination of emotions, behaviors and thoughts that makes you unique is called personality.

It is how you see yourself and how you understand the outside world and this is formed during childhood that is shaped through interaction of environmental factors and inherited tendencies.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Consult your doctor and he may recommend you to a psychiatrist to receive a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder.

Bring a close family member or friend with you to support and help you. Before the appointment, write down the symptoms that you think you are experiencing or what your family have noticed and for how long. Write down any traumatic events or major stresses in your life, even your family medical history and your medical information. Make a list of all the supplements, vitamins or medications that you are taking.

Some of the questions that you can ask your doctor include:

  • What is causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • Is this temporary or chronic?
  • What treatments are available for me?
  • How often will I need psychotherapy?
  • Do you recommend any medications?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Do they have generic alternatives?
  • What websites do you recommend?

Your doctor will ask you questions such as:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • How is it affecting your life?
  • When did your family first notice it?
  • Have they expressed concern?
  • Do you feel comfortable in social situations?
  • Why and why not?
  • What do you think is causing your problems?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself?
  • Have you ever felt that other people can control your thoughts?
  • Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed for mental illness?

Call 911 or go to emergency room if you think you might harm yourself or someone else. Based on the doctor’s thorough interview about your symptoms and your medical and personal history is how they will diagnose personality disorder.

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam to rule out other medical condition. A person must meet the criteria in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and Mental Disorders (DSM) that is published by the American Psychiatric Association to be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder which is used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment and mental health providers to diagnose mental illnesses.

At least five of the following criteria must be met to be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder such as:

  • Incorrect interpretations of events, such as a feeling that something which is actually harmless or inoffensive has a direct personal meaning;
  • Unusual perceptions, including illusions;
  • Odd beliefs or magical thinking that's inconsistent with cultural norms;
  • Odd thinking and speech patterns;
  • Flat emotions, appearing aloof and isolated;
  • Suspicious or paranoid thoughts, such as the belief that someone's out to get you;
  • Lack of close friends or confidants other than relatives;
  • Excessive social anxiety that doesn't diminish with familiarity;
  • Odd, eccentric or peculiar behavior or appearance;
  • and a person must not met the criteria for schizophrenic disorder.

5 Treatment

A combination of medications and one or more types of psychotherapy is the treatment for schizotypal personality disorder.

The Food and Drugs Administration never approved any medications for schizotypal personality disorder but doctors may prescribe antipsychotic, anti-anxiety or antidepressants to relieve certain symptoms like depression, psychotic episodes or anxiety.

Medications such as risperidone (Risperdal) or olanzapine (Zyprexa) can help in reducing distorted thinking.

Talk therapy or psychotherapy may also help by building a trust relationship with a therapist that may include behavior therapy, learning social skills or cognitive therapy even family therapy which can be more effective and may improve trust in the home and reduce fighting and emotional distance.

Some factors that can reduce the symptoms in time include:

  • sense of achievement at school, extracurricular activities and in work;
  • positive relationships with family and friends.

These may help when it comes to confidence.

6 Prevention

To prevent the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder follow dome of these steps:

  • for pregnant women, follow good prenatal care and avoid smoking during pregnancy;
  • prevent child abuse or substance abuse;
  • provide emotional support and nurture to people who are at risk with chizotypal personality disorder.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Human Growth Hormone or HGH is one of the alternative remedy for schizotypal personality disorder.

Consult your doctor first if you are going to take this medicine.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

It is difficult to cope with someone who has schizotypal personality disorder.

He may be in denial and at the same time will not accept the fact that he has schizotypal personality disorder.

Be mindful of what you say to that person and focus on his feelings and emotions.

Stay positive whenever you are talking to them. Understand and support him all throughout the treatment.

9 Risks and Complications

Some of the risk of having schizotypal personality disorder include:

  • Men are more at risk of having schizotypal personality disorder,
  • a family history of psychopathology will have an increased chance of having a schizotypal personality disorder,
  • people who are born to a mother who smoke and use drugs during pregnancy,
  • people who suffered from physical and sexual abuse,
  • and have a lower family socioeconomic status.

People with schizotypal personality disorder are at risk for developing brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder and schizophreniform disorder.

This can also lead to major depression and anxiety disorder.

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