WHAT IS SCHIZOID PERSONALITY DISORDER?

Schizoid isn't a word we hear very often, unless it's your actual name, then you probably do. Also, what were your parents thinking?? Anyway...

Schizoid Personality Disorder is a condition that means those with the condition are generally uninterested in forming close relationships with people in their lives. This can include members of their own family who may have a slightly better bond, but often struggle to maintain those ties. It is a fairly rare condition, affecting only around 3-4% of the world and does tend to appear in men more than women. Oh great! First man-flu, now this! Sheesh.

Schizoid Personality Disorder, as with Schizotypal and Paranoid Personality Disorders, comes under the schizophrenic spectrum of disorders. They do share SOME symptoms, but are different overall.

It is also possible to split the condition between 'covert' and 'overt' schizoid personality disorders. Those with the covert variant, may not, on the surface, appear to have the condition at all. They will hold down jobs, appear sociable with others and may even have some acquaintances (rather than friends) outside of their home. However, they will not have any deep bonds with anyone and tend to keep their feelings to themselves and very private. Those with 'overt' schizoid personality disorder will display the more obvious and 'traditional' symptoms listed below.

Many with schizoid personality disorder will view relationships as an interference to their own personal freedoms and that friends (or even family members) will merely cause problems for them. As such, they will be prefer to live alone, making their own choices without the influence or interference of others. This leads to them becoming isolated, even if it is by choice, it's not going to be a pleasant experience. Their loneliness may be real, but often they won't be able to acknowledge it in the same way as others would.

They may call themselves 'shy', but will often appear 'cold' to other people. They usually have very little or no interest in sex or intimacy of any kind, often fearing the very thought of it. They will rarely marry, or even date someone. Although, given some of the people we've seen on Tinder, that might be a blessing in disguise.

Schizoid Personality Disorder isn't just about shutting themselves way. We all like a little 'me time' now and again, but those with the condition will also have a limited range of emotions. Others may misinterpret this as them just being aloof or not caring about things. They may even have trouble expressing themselves and become the quintessential 'loner'. Not by choice. Remember no-one would choose to have this condition.

This isolation makes working a problem, especially if there will be a degree of interpersonal interaction involved. That doesn't mean they are a lost cause. No-one is. People with schizoid personality disorder often excel in the right environment.

THE SYMPTOMS

Most people who go on to be diagnosed with this condition do so as a result of seeing a Doctor for depression-like symptoms. They will then be referred to a mental health professional.

As we said, those with schizoid personality disorder will often be seen as the 'loner'. The symptoms of the condition will mean that they:

  • Prefer their own company and engage in hobbies that are solitary experiences.
  • Feel confused in social situations or with social interactions.
  • Appear dull, aloof or cold to other people, but this isn't the case in reality.
  • Uninterested in sex or any form of intimacy.
  • Get little pleasure from their life.
  • Few close friends (if any).

Unlike other conditions, like schizotypal personality disorder or schizophrenia, people with schizoid personality disorder are unlikely to experience paranoia or any sort of hallucinations. They tend to be much much more grounded in what's going on. Their speech patterns are less eccentric and are easier to understand than those with the other two conditions. Every cloud, eh!

WHAT CAUSES SCHIZOID PERSONALITY DISORDER?

Schizoid Personality Disorder is definitely caused by not supporting the right football team. Nah, not really (but if in any doubt, start supporting Nottingham Forest). The truth is no-one really knows why or what causes it. Sorry to say.

Most researchers believe it's a combination of a number of factors. Genetics can play a part, i.e., if you have a blood relative who may also have a condition that appears on the schizophrenic spectrum (good name for a band that!) that may contribute. Also, if you grew up with parental figures who were a little 'cold' or unresponsive to your emotional needs, that may play a part too.

As they take on this type of behaviour, it makes it difficult for friends and family to help, leading to other problems, e.g. depression, anxiety and even a dependance on drugs or alcohol.

WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE?

As with most personality disorders, a combination of medication and psychotherapy offer the most benefits to those living with the condition.


If you live with Schizoid Personality Disorder, there may be some organisations on our Where To Turn pages that can help you. If not, and you know of one, please let us know and we'll look into it.

Also, if you'd like to share your experiences of living with Schizoid Personality Disorder with our community so they can better understand how it feels, please take a look at our 'Men Tell' section.