What is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

A personality disorder which is defined as odd or eccentric, people with this condition have intense discomfort with social situations and intimate relationships.  Schizotypal personality disorder is a distressing condition, as sufferers have difficulty making friends or having physical relationships which can leave them feeling isolated and alone.  They have unusual thoughts, speech patterns, behaviours and beliefs, and are often distrustful, suspicious and paranoid.  The condition is more common in men than women and not usually diagnosed till early adulthood.


As with most personality disorders it is believed that the cause is a mixture of biological, genetic and environmental factors.  These can include things like genes you inherit from your parents or chemical imbalances or changes in the brain.

People with a family history of schizophrenia or paranoia are often more at risk of developing the disorder.  Almost half of the people who do develop it have suffered from major depression.  If they have suffered from psychological trauma, or extreme stress in the past, had an emotionally detached parent or suffered neglect, this can also be a trigger to its development. 

People who have previously had post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar, narcissistic or borderline personality disorders are at a higher risk of developing schizotypal personality disorder.


·     Anxiety

·     Depression

·     Lacking emotion and appropriate emotional responses which can come across as being aloof, distant or cold

·     Seem paranoid and suspicious

·     Lack motivation and often under achieve in life because of this

·      Have strange or unusual thoughts, behaviours or beliefs, like believing in magic or thinking they are psychic

·      Feeling discomfort or seeming stiff or awkward in social situations

·      A lack of friends

·      Have strange or odd speech patterns

·      Daydream and fantasise

·      May dress in an odd or unusual way or look unkempt

·      Are unaware of how their behaviours or thoughts affect others

·      Peculiar behaviours or mannerisms

·      Distrust of others

·      Are very uncomfortable with intimacy and struggle with close relationships

·      Have a distorted sense of reality

Associated Conditions or Risks

If left untreated it can lead to the development of obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol or drug abuse and suicidal thoughts in some cases.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are struggling with mental health issues you should initially see your doctor so they can rule out any underlying physical condition that could be causing your symptoms.  They can prescribe medications to help with your anxiety or depression and antipsychotic medication if necessary.  They will then refer you to a mental health professional who can diagnose and help treat the disorder.

The most common treatment is psychotherapy a form of talking therapy which the patient may initially find difficult until they build a relationship with their therapist.  This can help them with their social interactions and to change their negative and distorted thinking patterns.  Family therapy can also prove effective to help with communication and to develop a better understanding of the condition amongst family members.  CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can help them to manage their anxiety and to help them see how other people view their behaviours.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.

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