Schizoid personality disorder manifests itself as a chronic lack of emotion, lack of interest in relationships with others and a lack of motivation or ambition.
People who suffer from Schizoid personality disorder sometimes describe an inability to manufacture the kind of feelings they observe occurring naturally in others.
Despite the name similarity, Schizoid Personality Disorder is different from Schizophrenia and Schizotypal Personality Disorder. However, it does have an certain degree of comorbidity (or co-occurrence) with these disorders and with Avoidant Personality Disorder. Some individuals who suffer from Schizoid Personality Disorder have also been known to suffer from brief psychotic episodes.
Schizoid Personality Disorder Traits
The following list is a collection of some of the more commonly observed behaviors and traits of those who suffer from Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD). Note that these are not intended to be used for diagnosis.People who suffer from SPD are all unique and so each person will display a different subset of traits. Also, note that everyone displays "schizoid" behaviors from time to time. Therefore, if a person exhibits one or some of these traits, that does not necessarily qualify them for a diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder. See the DSM Criteria on this page for diagnostic criteria.
Click on the links on each trait for much more information about a particular trait or behavior and some ideas for coping with each.
Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Chronic Broken Promises - Repeatedly making and then breaking commitments and promises is a common trait among people who suffer from personality disorders.
Circular Conversations - Arguments which go on almost endlessly, repeating the same patterns with no resolution.
Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.
Confirmation Bias - The tendency to pay more attention to things which reinforce your beliefs than to things which contradict them.
"Control-Me" Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.
Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.
Depression - When you feel sadder than you think you should, for longer than you think you should - but still can't seem to break out of it - that's depression. People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with depression resulting from mistreatment at the hands of others, low self-worth and the results of their own poor choices.
Dissociation- Dissociation is a psychological term used to describe a mental departure from reality.
Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.
Imposed Isolation - Actions taken by an abuser to discourage a victim from developing supportive, external relationships.
Invalidation - The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.
Lack of Conscience - Individuals who suffer from personality disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.
Low Self-Esteem - A common term used to describe a group of negatively-distorted self-views which are inconsistent with reality.
Masking - Covering up one's own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.
Neglect - A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them.
Objectification - The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.
Pathological Lying - Persistent deception by an individual to serve their own interests and needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. A pathological liar is a person who habitually lies to serve their own needs.
Projection - The act of attributing one's own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.
Selective Competence - The practice of demonstrating different levels of intelligence or ability depending on the situation or environment.
Stunted Emotional Growth - Reluctance or inability to learn from mistakes, work on self-improvement or develop more effective coping strategies.
Tunnel Vision - A tendency to focus on a single concern, while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.
Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) - The DSM Criteria
Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) as a Cluster A (odd or eccentric) Personality Disorder.
Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is defined as:
A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
Neither desires, nor enjoys, close relationships, including being part of a family.
Almost always chooses solitary activities.
Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person.
Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities.
Lacks close friends or confidants, other than first-degree relatives.
Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity.
Does not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a mood disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder or a pervasive developmental disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
A formal diagnosis of SPD requires a mental health professional to identify 4 out of the above 7 criteria as positive. Some people with SPD may exhibit all 7. Most will exhibit only a few.
Movies Portraying Schizoid Personality Disorder Traits
The Remains of the Day - The Remains of the Day is a 1993 Columbia Pictures Release, starring Anthony Hopkins & Emma Thompson which portrays the life of a head butler in an English Manor who manifests some of the traits of schizoid personality disorder.
The English Patient - The English Patient is a 1996 Miramax movie which portrays the life of a wounded World War II pilot who demonstrates schizoid traits and his relationship with his caretaker nurse.
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