For most people, being social and engaging with others is a daily activity that one looks forward to. However, for a some, such interaction is undesirable and will be sidestepped whenever possible. Such a person may be suffering from schizoid personality disorder, in which he or she may disengage from relationships with others. Instead, the person will often prefer the solitude of being alone.
Those with this disorder will often lead a simple life without many friendships or relationships. Because of this, the person will rarely be married. In a work environment, the employee may thrive in situations where they work independently. Working may come easily if it is related to more abstract or mechanical concepts. However, interactions with others in a work environment may often be strained. The sufferer may not seem to have many set goals in their life and will respond improperly in certain circumstances. Feelings of anger may be especially difficult to express.
The individual may have few activities they find enjoyable. People with this disorder often do not feel a need to connect with immediate or extended family. Positive or negative feedback from others does not seem to have an effect in terms of response. Their demeanor may be non-emotive much of the time. Depression and anxiety are more likely to occur concurrently with the disorder.
Though schizoid personality disorder is classified as a schizophrenic disorder, it differs from schizophrenia in certain ways. For instance, hallucinations or paranoia are not likely to occur. Those with such symptoms usually express logical verbal responses, though they may have a monotone voice. Such people are often less likely to use facial expressions, such as a smile, when responding to someone. Some may appear to others as being self-absorbed due to their introverted nature. Though the cause is unknown, risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the disorder include a disruptive and/or traumatic childhood and genetic inheritance.
Those with this condition may often daydream or fantasize about their lives in ways that do not match reality. Those with schizoid personality disorder are more likely to develop friendships with animals rather than people. Individuals are often diagnosed by early adulthood, though there are no laboratory tests or blood tests that may be used to draw such conclusions. Rather than making friends and socializing, he or she may stick to rigid routines that they insist on following on a daily basis. When stress arises, the sufferer may be prone to a brief psychotic episode. The disorder occurs more frequently in males than females.
Oftentimes, it may take specific urging from family members to seek treatment, due to the nature of such isolation. However, if a patient has been diagnosed and is willing to receive help, there will be different options for assistance. Frequent psychotherapy treatments may be necessary for the best results. At first, it may be difficult to distinguish schizoid personality disorder from Asperger syndrome.
One treatment is talk therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy. A therapist who is trained in studying the disorder will be able to identify the boundaries the patient has created. Therapists understand how challenging it may be for the schizoid personality disorder patient to open up to others. Such a professional will know how to move forward without the patient feeling excessively pressured.
Eventually, group therapy may be a goal for the patient, allowing them the opportunity to communicate with others who are seeking similar treatment. With time, this form of therapy can help reduce agitation about social situations. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may be prescribed if the patient also suffers from depression or anxiety. Antipsychotics may also be helpful when it comes to symptoms such as lack of sociability or empathy.
There is also the option of self-help if the patient feels up to it. This may come later in therapy after he or she feels more comfortable in social settings. Examples of self-help include joining a club or seeking employment where greater interaction is required. This may follow short-term treatment, as it may be difficult for the person to make long-term commitments. Though it is not common for the client to develop an empathetic connection with a therapist, treatment will nonetheless be focused on appropriate solutions. Hopefully, those with this disorder can learn to find means of making their life more manageable by gaining greater control over their symptoms.
Sovereign Health offers a holistic treatment plan to ensure a patient’s recovery, including group therapy, individual cognitive behavioral therapy and more. For more information regarding treating a mental health condition, please call (866) 524-5504.
Contributed by Sovereign Health Writer, Ryan McMaster