Schizoid personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a limited range of emotional expression and a pattern of detachment from social relationships. While people with this disorder feel a sense of isolation, they often don’t have a desire for connection and generally prefer solitary activities. Others often perceive people with schizoid personality disorder as being cold or aloof.
Schizoid personality disorder can be challenging to treat. In many cases, those who have the condition rarely seek professional care. However, with treatment, people tend to experience improvements in their symptoms and lead fuller, more socially-connected lives.
Steps for Helping Someone With Schizoid Personality Disorder
While schizoid personality disorder is hard to treat, there are some measures loved ones can take to help a person with this condition:
- Avoid Judgment. Listen when a loved one shares information about their disorder and try to understand where they’re coming from.
- Get Educated. Learn more about schizoid personality disorder and the symptoms associated with it.
- Be Patient. Know that personality disorders are difficult to treat and setbacks will likely occur throughout treatment.
- Encourage Treatment. Someone with this disorder may not initially desire emotional closeness, but with treatment, this can change, and their quality of life can improve.
When caring for a person with schizoid personality disorder, it may be tempting to engage with them in the same manner as other relationships. However, trying to relate to someone with schizoid personality disorder in this way can place pressure on the other person. Someone with this condition is more likely to enjoy participating in activities that don’t involve emotional engagement. Finding neutral, non-emotionally charged activities to do together can relieve pressure and help you build a more authentic relationship.
Supporting a Loved One Through Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder
When a loved one seeks treatment for schizoid personality disorder, it’s important to express support. Offering to go to appointments, provide transportation to treatment, or listen to them talk about their experiences can help your friend or family member know that you’re there to help them.
Supporting someone with schizoid personality disorder may also involve encouraging them to seek evidence-based methods of treatment, including self-help support groups. A support group comprised of other people with schizoid personality disorder can be a safe place to overcome feelings of isolation, improve social skills and develop healthy social relationships.
As a loved one undergoes treatment, it is also vital for caregivers also to find support. One of the best things caregivers can do is to develop realistic expectations about the relationship. It’s important to understand that there may be limits in the level of emotional closeness a friend or family member can develop with someone with schizoid personality disorder.
Finding Treatment Programs for a Friend or Family Member
If your loved one is experiencing symptoms of schizoid personality disorder, treatment is available. Professional care may be completed in an inpatient or outpatient setting. However, if a co-occurring disorder substance use disorder exists, inpatient treatment may be the best option.