Do you know what a personality disorder is? It consists of a pattern of behavior and inner experience that prevents us from adapting to life and causes us discomfort. There are more than 10 personality disorders, according to the DSM and ICD.
In this article we will explain what a personality disorder entails, and analyze one of them: schizoid personality disorder. We will learn about its 8 fundamental characteristics, as well as its prevalence, frequency among men and women, evolution, etc.
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Schizoid personality disorder: what is it?
Schizoid personality disorder is one of the more than 10 personality disorders that exist.. It was proposed by the Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist Eugen Bleuler. This disorder is characterized by a pattern of distancing from social relationships and restriction of emotional expression in the interpersonal domain.
In other words, sufferers are people who have no interest in relating to others, who prefer to “isolate” themselves and avoid social contact; this happens to them, in reality, because they do not enjoy social relationships.
This is a rare personality disorder in the clinical setting.. Its prevalence is higher in men than in women (although the difference is not very significant). In addition, schizoid personality disorder is more disabling in men than in women.
As for its familial pattern, this disorder tends to be more frequent in people with relatives suffering from schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder.
- You may be interested in: “Histrionic personality: what it is, and its 14 characteristic traits”.
Personality disorders: what are they?
Before going into schizoid personality disorder, let’s see what a personality disorder (PD) is, according to the different reference manuals (DSM and ICD).
A PD consists of a permanent pattern of internal experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the subject’s culture. Thus, these persons show great difficulties in “adapting” to life, or in “fitting in” with the culture of the subject.or to “fit in” with the world. As a result, they may present significant associated distress.
The deviation that occurs in the behavioral pattern affects two or more of the following areas:
- Impulse control and desire satisfaction
- How he/she relates to others
- Handling interpersonal situations
Characteristics of PT
Why do these patterns cause such a severe personality disturbance? Because they are inflexible (rigid) patterns, which also extend to a wide range of personal and social situations.
This deviation from the “norm” or “society” is stable and long-evolving, i.e., it is not limited to specific episodes. Thus, the subject’s personality and behavior are globally affected or altered.
The onset of a personality disorder always dates back to adolescence or early adulthood. In addition, the criteria for meeting a personality disorder must be manifested for at least 1 year.
Characteristics of schizoid personality disorder
Now let us analyze schizoid personality disorder. There are 8 fundamental characteristics of schizoid personality disorder. These refer to the behavior of these people, their way of relating to others, their interests, etc. Let’s get to know them.
1. They do not enjoy social relationships
The central characteristic of schizoid personality disorder is the absence of enjoyment of social relationships. This includes being part of a family (i.e., people with this personality disorder do not enjoy it).
Thus, there is also a disconnection from social relationships.
2. Solitary activities
These people almost always choose solitary activities, due to the previous characteristic. In other words, they enjoy doing things alone.
3. Little interest in sexual relationships
In the sexual field, people with schizoid personality disorder show little or no interest in having sexual relations with other people.
4. Type of activities
These people, moreover, although they may enjoy some particular activity, the truth is that they find few activities that motivate them (in some cases, none).
5. Close friends
They do not have close friends either, beyond first-degree relatives. This is explained, like many of the previous characteristics, by their lack of interest in others (due to the absence of social enjoyment).
6. Indifference to criticism
People with schizoid personality disorder show indifference to criticism from others; they do not care if they are criticized. This is also extrapolated to compliments, as they are also indifferent to them. It is as if the opinion of others never matters to them.
7. Emotional coldness
Another characteristic of this personality disorder is emotional coldness, as well as distancing or flattening of affectivity. That is to say, these are cold people, who find it difficult to empathize or feel compassion for someone, for example.
On the other hand, the affective flattening consists of the absence of expression and experience of emotions.
8. Restriction of emotional expression
Very much in line with the previous characteristic, there is this other one: a restriction of emotional expression.
Risk for other disorders
The fact of manifesting a schizoid personality disorder carries an added risk of manifesting other mental disorders (or psychopathological alterations), such as:
- Psychotic episodes in the face of stress
- Delusional disorder
- Major depressive disorder
As we can see, these pathologies belong mainly to the field of psychotic disorders.
There is no single proven cause of schizoid personality disorder.. It is believed that its origin is multifactorial, with social, genetic, environmental, etc., causes that explain it.
The etiological hypotheses that have been proposed for this personality disorder are mainly biological. The three most important are those that propose, as the cause of the disorder:
- Deficits in the reticular formation
- Congenital aplasia of the limbic system.
- Neurotransmitter deficits
Group A of Personality Disorders
The Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) proposes to classify personality disorders (PD) into three clusters: cluster A, cluster B and cluster C.
Cluster A includes disorders involving “oddity or extravagance”, cluster B, “dramatism or immaturity”, and cluster C, “recklessness and anxiety”. Thus, schizoid personality disorder is included in the first group, in Cluster A.
Cluster A disorders have the following characteristics: introversion, low sociability and high psychoticism. They are disorders that hardly change throughout life, as is the case with schizoid PD.