You may have seen a person who avoids any kind of social interaction and will shy away from human contact. They are often known as loners and often appear as humorless, dull individuals. They are always aloof and have a limited range of expression and emotion. This person may be suffering from a condition known as schizoid personality disorder.
This disorder usually occurs in early adulthood. Therefore, one wants to know what causes schizoid personality disorder. However, in order to be classified as a schizoid personality individual, one needs to meet 4 criteria set by DSM IV. We will look at these criteria as well as schizoid personality disorder causes by going through the next section.
What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Also called schizotypical disorder, it is a personality disorder that causes social isolation, odd behavior, abnormal thinking pattern and development of unconventional beliefs in an individual.
In order to diagnose schizoid personality disorder in a patient, one has to make sure she/he falls into at least four criteria of the given criteria. These criteria are based on the symptoms of schizoid personality disorder and are as follows:
- The person does not like or enjoy being in a close relationship. This includes not being a part of a family.
- The people prefer carrying out or working on solitary activities.
- They have very little interest in indulging in sexual experiences and show minimal need for pleasure.
- These people are totally indifferent to criticism or praise and show very little response to these positive or negative feedback from others.
- Individuals with schizoid personality are emotionally cold, detached and aloof. They do not have any close friends or acquaintances.
Many people are confused regarding schizoid personality and schizophrenia. However, these two conditions are different. People with schizoid personality can function well and can even hold jobs. These people generally take up jobs with little or no human interaction like librarians, laboratory workers, night watchmen, etc.
What Causes Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Schizoid personality disorder causes are not very clear. It has been placed in the ‘schizophrenia spectrum’ disorder. This disorder is listed in the DSM-IV-TR on Axis II. Schizoid personality disorder is found to be very common in people who have a relative suffering from schizophrenia than those whose relatives may suffer from other mental illness.
It may be a genetic disorder where a person inherits genes related to schizophrenia. Other than genetic causes, environmental factors may also play a role in development of schizoid personality disorder. Individuals with a difficult childhood, that lacked the warmth and emotional connections with parents or people around them are at risk.
An emotional trauma during childhood or adolescence, dysfunctional family, fear of social isolation or social interaction may trigger schizoid disorder. It is supposed to be a protective mechanism one develops to prevent any emotional hurt or damage. Thus, causes of schizoid personality disorder includes the further risk factors:
- An individual who had an emotionally detached parent or dysfunctional family.
- Individual who had suffered from any form of childhood abuse, trauma or mistreatment.
- An individual who grew up in a neglectful, scornful environment.
- Individual with a parent or very close relative diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizotypical personality disorder.
Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder
People with schizoid personality disorder are lonely and emotionally sensitive, in spite of their aloof and detached exterior. They are thus at risk of turning into alcoholics or drug addicts. They may suffer from major depression, anxiety, panic disorder or social phobia.
These individuals may also develop schizophrenia, schizotypical disorder, delusional disorder and other personality disorders. Thus, it is very important for them to seek help and treatment. However, it is very difficult to assess how common is schizoid personality disorder as most of these individuals rarely speak about their problems and seek treatment.
This is because their behavior and thinking process does not cause any problems to them. Those who do seek help, are evaluated by the doctor. Once schizoid personality disorder is diagnosed, the therapist or psychiatrist will help one change the beliefs and behavior that cause problems for the individual.
They help them develop social skills, teach them how to react in a social situation, etc. Group therapy sessions are organized to help build interpersonal skills. Medications may be prescribed to help build some emotions and overcome social problems.
This was some information related to what causes schizoid personality disorder. These people may appear odd to others around them. However, they do well in their everyday life and can take care of themselves.
Schizoid personality traits do not allow them to form or build any substantial relationships or get into a family life. Other than that, this disorder does not cause much distress to these emotionally detached and cold individuals.