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An estimated 9.1 percent of adults in the United States have a type of personality disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Personality disorders affect patients' behaviors, which can result in problems interacting with other people. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) lays out six criteria for a personality disorder. First, the disorder must affect at least two of the following: cognition, impulse control, affectivity, and interpersonal functioning. These problems exist in several situations and cause the patient distress or interfere in her functioning. Other criteria for a personality disorder include a long duration of the disorder which starts during adolescence or young adulthood; that it does not result from another mental disorder; and that it is not a result of a substance problem or physical medical condition.
The DSM-IV-TR includes 10 types of personality disorders, which the manual breaks up into three clusters. Two of these personality disorders are avoidant personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder. Let's look at avoidant personality disorder vs. schizoid personality disorder.
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Avoidant Personality Disorder
In the United States, about 5.2 percent of adults have avoidant personality disorder, notes the NIMH. Avoidant personality disorder falls under cluster C of personality disorders, meaning patients have anxious or inhibited behavior, according to the Merck Manual Home Edition. Patients who have avoidant personality disorder are sensitive to rejection and become hurt when criticized. As a result, avoidant personality disorder patients may avoid activities in which they have to interact with other people.
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Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder falls into cluster A of personality disorder, which the Merck Manual Home Edition notes is characterized by odd or eccentric behavior. Patients with schizoid personality disorder seem to be detached from other people and develop social isolation. Other signs include having little to say in a conversation, little motivation, and lessened emotions. MedlinePlus notes that while schizoid personality disorder has many of the risk factors that schizophrenia does, patients with schizoid personality disorder do not have delusions or hallucinations.
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Avoidant Personality Disorder Vs. Schizoid
Patients may have both of these personality disorders. The DSM-IV-TR explains that schizoid personality disorder can co-occur with avoidant personality disorder in patients; patients with schizoid personality disorder may also have paranoid personality disorder or schizotypal personality disorder. While both avoidant and schizoid personality disorders affect relationships and social interactions, they do so in different ways. Avoidant personality disorder causes relationship problems due to patients' fear of criticism and of doing something wrong. With schizoid personality disorder, patients do not enjoy intimate relationships with other people, according to MedlinePlus. While avoidant personality disorder patients are hurt by someone's criticism, schizoid personality disorder patients appear unaffected by criticism, as well as praise, notes the MayoClinic.com.
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NIMH: The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America
American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision
Merck Manual Home Edition: Personality Disorders: Mental Health Disorders
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Schizoid Personality Disorder
MayoClinic.com: Schizoid Personality Disorder
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Avoidant Personality Disorder