Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Secret Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by consistent emotional detachment & social isolation. One of the causes could be neglectful early parenting.

Schizoid personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called eccentric personality disorders. People with schizoid personality disorder are characterized by excessive detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings. They generally are described as ‘loners’ who prefer solitary activities and rarely express strong emotion. However, their inner life can be rampant with a deep emotional need, sensitivity, and confusion about the world around them.
The prevalence of this disorder is difficult to assess because people with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment. Schizoid personality disorder affects men more often than women and is more common in people who have close relatives with schizophrenia. Schizoid personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood.

Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder:

People with schizoid personality disorder often are isolated, organizing their lives to avoid any relationship with other people. The following are additional traits of people with this disorder

  • they do not desire or enjoy close relationships, even with family members;
  • choose solitary jobs and activities such as such as night security officers and library or laboratory workers;
  • can appear dull or indifferent to others;
  • lack close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives;
  • have little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person;
  • they are aloof and show little emotion;
  • they might daydream and/or create vivid fantasies of complex inner lives;
  • flattened emotions or lack of expressivity;
  • general feeling of discomfort or restlessness (dysphoria);
  • tendency toward underperformance in school or work settings;
  • lack of expressivity; and
  • they tend to avoid interaction with medical professionals and are likely to seek help only at the urging of relatives or teachers or intervention by the legal system.
Some tendencies can appear in childhood and continue through adolescence and into early adulthood.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association [DSM IV criteria]) describes schizoid personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

  • neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family;
  • almost always chooses solitary activities;
  • has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person;
  • takes pleasure in few, if any, activities;
  • lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives;
  • appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others;
  • show emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affection.

Causes of schizoid personality disorder:

Little is known about the cause of schizoid personality disorder, but both genetics and environment are suspected to play a role. The higher risk for schizoid personality disorder in families of schizophrenics suggests that a genetic susceptibility for the disorder might be inherited. People with schizoid personality disorder do not have schizophrenia; but it is thought that many of the same risk factors in schizophrenia may be factors causing this disorder.

Some mental health professionals suggests that patients with schizoid personality disorder often have histories of cold, insensitive, hostile, or neglectful early parenting, which often began early in life. Psychodynamic theories suggest that these traumatic experiences create an expectation that relationships will not be gratifying and a subsequent defensive withdrawal from others.

Diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder:

Personality disorders such as schizoid personality disorder are typically diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. A diagnosis for schizoid personality disorder is made thorough clinical interview. During this interview, the doctor will ask questions about symptoms and mental well-being, and take a medical, psychiatric and social history.
A physical examination can help rule out other conditions, and a mental health professional will likely be consulted for further evaluation. They will make a determination whether your symptoms meet the criteria necessary for a personality disorder diagnosis. However, other assessment tools helpful in diagnosing schizoid personality disorder include:
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2);
  • Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-II);
  • Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test; and
  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

1 comment:

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