What is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?
Schizotypal personality disorder is a personality disorder that results in odd or unusual behaviors, eccentricities and a need or desire to be alone due to feelings of social anxiety. Unlike typical feelings of social anxiety, however, this desire to be alone is usually attributed to the shortcomings of others. Schizotypal personality types can babble on and on in social situations without making much sense. They may have delusions or suffer from paranoia. According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder generally begins in early adulthood and usually persists for life, although certain medications and/or therapy can be effective treatments. Like all personality disorders, schizotypal personality disorder can be difficult to treat.
A psychiatrist is the best person to diagnose schizotypal personality disorder. They will perform a psychiatric evaluation and determine whether the patient meets five of the criteria required for a diagnosis of this disorder, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as the DSM. If think you or someone you love may suffer from this disorder, it’s a good idea to consult your family physician first, in order to get a referral to a qualified psychiatrist.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Treatment
Medications are often used to treat schizotypal personality disorder, although unlike other mental illnesses and personality disorders, there is no specific schizotypal personality disorder treatment drug. Instead, physicians and/or psychiatrists usually prescribe a combination of anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, and antipsychotics such as risperdal to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychotic or dysfunctional thought patterns.
Types of schizotypal personality disorder treatment are varied. Treatment usually focuses on making concrete, focused changes to dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors. It also involves learning to trust and be comfortable around another person, with the intent of alleviating social anxiety. This is usually accomplished with conventional psychotherapy, which focuses on the relationship between the therapist and patient and explores social, psychological, environmental and other types of issues. This form of treatment can last anywhere from several months to several years.
Through the use of 1) cognitive therapy, which focuses on teaching correct thinking and changing distorted or irrational thoughts 2) behavioral therapy, in which patients learn specific social skills and appropriate ways of acting in a social situation, or 3) a form of psychotherapy that combines these two, known as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, the symptoms of this unusual and debilitating disorder can sometimes be alleviated. These forms of therapy are usually short-term, however, the length of treatment depends on the patient’s willingness to learn and make behavioral and cognitive changes.
Although these types of therapy are generally thought to show the most promise for schizotypal personality disorder treatment, family therapy can also be helpful. Family members receive education about this disorder and get support. This support also extends to the patient, who can feel marginalized and start fighting or remove him or herself emotionally from their family. Family therapy brings the entire family together for specific, focused treatment sessions.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM IV-TR, 2000