Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) - The DSM Criteria
The American Psychiatric Association is publishing a 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) in 2013. The DSM defines standard criteria for diagnosing mental health conditions and is used by clinicians in the USA and beyond. The 5th edition DSM-V differs significantly from the previous editions (DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR) in the way Personality Disorders are defined. For clarity, we have listed both the new DSM-V and the older DSM-IV definition for each personality disorder.
The following list is a collection of some possible behaviors and traits of those who suffer from Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD). Note that these are not intended to be used for diagnosis. See the DSM Criteria on this page for diagnostic criteria. Click on the links on each one for much more information about a particular trait or behavior and some ideas for coping with each.
"Always" and "Never" Statements - "Always" and "Never" Statements are declarations containing the words "always" or "never". They are commonly used but rarely true.
Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.
Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.
Chaos Manufacture - Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.
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.
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.
Engulfment - An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.
Sense of Entitlement - An unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others.
False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else.
Favoritism - Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers.
Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.
Feelings of Emptiness - An acute, chronic sense that daily life has little worth or significance, leading to an impulsive appetite for strong physical sensations and dramatic relationship experiences.
Hoarding - Accumulating items to an extent that it becomes detrimental to quality of lifestyle, comfort, security or hygiene.
Holiday Triggers - Mood Swings in Personality-Disordered individuals are often triggered or amplified by emotional events such as family holidays, significant anniversaries and events which trigger emotional memories.
Hyper Vigilance - Maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.
Hysteria - An excessive reaction to a threat, bad news or disappointment, which diverts attention away from the problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.
Imposed Isolation - Actions taken by an abuser to discourage a victim from developing supportive, external relationships.
Impulsiveness - The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning.
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.
Lack of Object Constancy - A symptom of some personality disorders, Lack of Object Constancy is an inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision. Object constancy is a developmental skill which most children do not develop until two or three years of age.
Low Self-Esteem - A common term used to describe a group of negatively-distorted self-views which are inconsistent with reality.
Manipulation - The practice of baiting an individual or group of individuals into a certain response or reaction pattern for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.
Masking - Covering up one's own natural outward appearance, mannerisms and speech in dramatic and inconsistent ways depending on the situation.
Moments of Clarity - Spontaneous, temporary periods when a person with a personality disorder is able to see beyond their own world view and can acknowledge and begin to make amends for their dysfunctional behavior.
Mood Swings - Unpredictable, rapid, dramatic emotional cycles which cannot be readily explained by changes in external circumstances.
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.
Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior - An inflexible adherence to arbitrary rules and systems, or an illogical adherence to cleanliness and orderly structure.
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.
Perfectionism - The maladaptive practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unattainable or unsustainable standard of organization, order, or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in other areas of living.
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.
Proxy Recruitment - A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly backing you up, speaking for you or "doing your dirty work" for you.
Selective Competence - The practice of demonstrating different levels of intelligence or ability depending on the situation or environment.
Self-Harm - Self Harm, also known as self-mutilation, self-injury or self-abuse is any form of deliberate, premeditated injury inflicted on oneself, common among adolescents and among people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. The most common forms are cutting and poisoning/overdosing.
Shaming - The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.
Silent Treatment - A passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval and contempt is exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.
Situational Ethics - A philosophy which promotes the idea that, when dealing with a crisis, the end justifies the means and that a rigid interpretation of rules and laws can be set aside if a greater good or lesser evil is served by doing so.
Splitting - The practice of regarding people and situations as either completely "good" or completely "bad".
Stalking - Any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another individual.
Stunted Emotional Growth - Reluctance or inability to learn from mistakes, work on self-improvement or develop more effective coping strategies.
Testing - Repeatedly forcing another individual to demonstrate or prove their love or commitment to a relationship.
Thought Policing - A process of interrogation or attempt to control another individual's thoughts or feelings.
Tunnel Vision - A tendency to focus on a single concern, while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.
DSM Criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD)
Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) is listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) as a Cluster A (odd or eccentric) Personality Disorder.
A pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for close relationships, as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
Ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference).
Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with subcultural norms (e.g., superstitiousness, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or "sixth sense"; in children and adolescents, bizarre fantasies or preoccupations).
Unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions.
Odd thinking and speech (e.g., vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, over elaborate, or stereotyped).
Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation.
Inappropriate or constricted affect.
Behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar.
Lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
Social anxiety that tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgments about self.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Schizoid Personality Disorder are closely related and share a number of common characteristics particularly evident in a lack of ability to form and maintain social relationships. The diagnoses differ in the attitude in that people who suffer Schizotypal Personality Disorder avoid relationships out of fear while people with Schizoid personality avoid relationships out of disinterest.
A formal diagnosis of STPD requires a mental health professional to identify 5 out of the above 9 criteria as positive. Some people with STPD may exhibit all 9. Most will exhibit only a few.
Most people will experience or exhibit a few of the above criteria from time to time. This does not make a person STPD.
Understanding the clinical criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) is helpful, but learning how to cope with having a loved-one who suffers from STPD is quite different.
One of the most effective ways we have found to deal with that is to get support from people who understand what it feels like to be in a relationship or be a family member of someone who suffers from a personality disorder and have learned how to cope. You can find people like that at our Support Forum.
Movies Portraying Schizotypal Personality Disorder Traits
Taxi Driver - Taxi Driver is a 1976 movie starring Robert de Niro about a troubled Vietnam veteran with schizotypal traits who works as a cab driver in New York City.
The Apostle - The Apostle is a 1997 drama written, directed and starring Robert Duvall, about an evangelical itinerant preacher with schizotypal trailts who commits a violent crime then moves to Louisiana in an attempt to build a new life.
Five years ago, a photographer, an engineer, a writer, an office manager, a grandmother, a graphic artist, a law student, a husband, a librarian, and a stained-glass artisan came together to connect a diverse, isolated population in search of information, support, and growth as they strive to cope with a family members, spouses or partners who suffer from a personality disorder. Since its launch on November 1, 2007, Out Of The FOG has grown from a fledgling discussion group with 10 participants, to a vibrant community of over 4000 registered members world-wide, with new members joining every day.
On August 31 2012, the Out of the FOG Support Forum crossed two significant milestones - 100,000 member posts and 10,000 topics. Thanks to all who participate and contribute to the OOTF support board, which is a unique source of support to non-personality-disordered individuals all over the world.