An idiopathic mental disorder, schizoid personality disorder causes the affected person to develop a strong detachment from the social sphere of life. People with this disorder usually appear to have an odd and peculiar personality. The main characteristic features of this medical condition include the person choosing to be alone and shying away from any social activities, having a few friends or none at all, being sexually apathetic, having a tendency to live a secretive life, appear dull, indifferent or cold towards others feelings, finding it tough to relate to others, being aloof of almost everything, and often underperforming at school or work. This disorder is regarded as idiopathic, because experts have not been able to trace the exact cause behind its development. However, it is strongly believed that certain genetic and environmental factors have a major role to play, in contributing to its development, especially in the early childhood of the person. Having someone from the family suffering from the same condition, having had to spent a childhood that lacked warmth and love, or suffered childhood abuse, increase the risk of developing the same.
What Comprises the Treatment of Schizoid Personality Disorder?
The nature of the schizoid personality disorder itself becomes the main hindrance in its treatment. Needless to say, treatment of any physical or mental disorder requires a lot of interaction between the patient and the doctor. And that is why, patients are often advised to open up about their medical history and other aspects of their lives so that their doctor can get to the bottom of the problem and attempt to correct it or at least manage it. But this may not stand valid when it comes to managing a disorder such as this one we are speaking of here in this article. Here, the patient tries to ensure that no contact is made with others, which include the doctors as well. And that is why, a medical expert who has had a strong experience in dealing and treating such kind of disorders is considered as the rightful medical professional for the job. Such doctors are well versed with the techniques of reaching out to the patient, without making the whole process apparent. Most patients have shown significant improvements in their conditions with the help of such skilled professionals, who have a better understanding towards the personal space and inner thoughts of the patient.
The most important method that helps treat schizoid personality disorder is psychotherapy. This type of treatment targets at converting negative thoughts and believes into constructive ones. With time, the patient would be able to realize the importance of understanding cues that occur in a social setting, and more importantly about his/her moods, feelings, thoughts and behavior.This in turn would help the patient to increase his/her coping skills, improve social interaction, communication and most importantly self-esteem. The therapy also helps the patient to be less anxious while he/she is in a social situation. Also known as talk therapy, or counseling, this treatment method not only helps the patient cope with his/her problem, but also helps in other aspects such as resolving conflicts, relieving stress or anxiety, coping with major changes in life, recovering from abuse that might be of a physical or a sexual nature, and in getting better sleep. As beneficial this drugless treatment is, it may also come with side effects, but a few and minor ones. One after-effect of the therapy on the patient could be him/her getting reminded of feelings and experiences which were or are nothing but painful. Also, since the therapy helps the person face his/her fear or challenges, short-lived incidences of stress or anxiety can get triggered.
If we speak of medications, then there are none that can be regarded to be specific to this disorder. But since anxiety and depression are most likely to occur in the patient, so treating them with medications may be helpful. Some common medications that may be prescribed include bupropion (Wellbutrin). Risperidone (Risperdal) or olanzapine (Zyprexa). What is important to know is, these medications are meant only for acute symptom relief, and not for long-term use.
Self-help support, may seem to be theoretically less effective than the above methods for the treatment, but it actually helps the affected person to function in the face of unexpected changes. Here, the affected individual learns to mingle with people who are practicing new interpersonal skills, and in this way, he/she can overcome fears of closeness and feelings of being detached from the rest of the world. There are several support groups that work for attending people affected with schizoid personality disorder, so that they can share their common experiences and feelings, without being pushed.
The importance of treatment of a person with the schizoid personality disorder is proportional to the complications that may occur if the condition is left untreated. The affected person may be drawn towards drug or alcohol addiction, suffer major depression, anxiety disorder, extreme fear from social life, and other personality disorders. Having a loved one who is suffering from such kind of medical issue, can be heavy on the heart and the mind, as well. But what needs to be understood is that, the patient has not taken up this image at will, and that there were certain reasons behind it. Working closely with the doctor, and sending a message to your loved one that no matter what, you would always stand by him/her side, would definitely work miracles.