What is schizotypal personality disorder?
Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is one type of eccentric personality disorder. If you have STPD, your behavior and mannerisms may appear strange to others. While STPD is on the schizophrenia spectrum, people with STPD don’t usually experience psychosis.
The symptoms of STPD include:
- strange thinking or behavior
- unusual beliefs
- discomfort in social situations
- a lack of emotion or inappropriate emotional responses
- odd speech that may be vague or rambling
- a lack of close friends
- extreme social anxiety
People with STPD tend to lead solitary lives. If you have intense social anxiety, you may find it hard to build relationships. You may blame others for your discomfort in social situations.
People with STPD don’t usually have psychotic symptoms. Hallucinations, delusions, and loss of touch with reality are hallmarks of psychosis. Delusions are fixed and false beliefs. However, they do often have ideas of reference. An idea of reference is an incorrect interpretation of casual incidents and external events that the person believes have a particular and unusual meaning. This meaning can either be in general or for the person experiencing the idea of reference.
STPD tends to run in families. You may be at risk if you have a relative with:
- schizotypal personality disorder
- another personality disorder
Environmental factors, especially childhood experiences, may play a role in the development of this disorder. These factors include:
- having a parent who is emotionally detached
Most people with STPD receive the diagnosis in early adulthood. If your doctor suspects you have it, they’ll begin by giving you a physical examination to check for physical conditions that could cause your symptoms. They’ll also ask about your symptoms and whether other family members have personality disorders.
Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a psychiatric assessment. They’ll likely ask you about:
- when your symptoms began
- how your symptoms affect your daily life
- how you feel in social situations
- your experiences at school and work
- your childhood
The psychiatrist or psychologist may ask if you’ve ever thought about harming yourself or others. They may also ask if your family members have commented on your behavior. Your answers will help them develop a diagnosis.
If your doctor diagnoses you with STPD, your doctor may prescribe medication or therapy to treat it. No medications are designed to treat STPD specifically. However, some people with this condition benefit from taking antipsychotic or antidepressant drugs if they’re experiencing symptoms that their doctor thinks be improved with these medications.
Several types of therapy can help treat STPD. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help you learn how to form relationships. You can get this type of therapy along with social skills training to help you feel more comfortable in social situations.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you address some of the behaviors associated with your condition. Your therapist can help you learn how to act in social situations and respond to social cues. They can also help you learn to recognize unusual or harmful thoughts and change them.
Family therapy may be helpful, especially if you live with others. It can help you strengthen your relationships with family members. It may also help you to feel more supported by your family.
STPD is a chronic condition. It usually requires lifelong treatment. Your specific outlook will depend on the severity of your symptoms. If you’re able to get treatment early, it may be more successful.
If you have STPD, you’re at an increased risk of developing major depressive disorder and other personality disorders. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you’re experiencing depression or other mental disorders.