Differentiating between schizoid vs. schizotypal personality disorder can be challenging. While the conditions sound similar and share some symptoms, the differences between schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder become evident once a person learns about the diagnostic criteria for each.
Characteristics of Cluster A Personality Disorders
There are ten personality disorders separated into three groups by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in its text called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The conditions in each group, called clusters, are lumped together due to similar symptoms and risk factors.
The cluster A personality disorders are:
Cluster A personality disorders characteristics are quite different from cluster B or cluster C personality disorders. The defining traits of these conditions are a set of odd, bizarre or eccentric behaviors. Cluster A disorders tend to have a more detrimental impact on a person’s life than conditions from other clusters. People with cluster B disorders may appear dramatic, emotional or erratic, while people with cluster C personality disorders may seem anxious or fearful.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder, like other personality disorders, can drastically impact a person’s quality and quantity of relationships. The signs and symptoms of schizoid personality disorder include a pattern of disconnection from social relationships and a limited emotional range marked by:
- Having little interest in relationships or sexual experiences
- Choosing to be alone
- No engagement in pleasurable activities
- Lacking close friends other than family members
- Feeling indifference to praise or criticism
- Refraining from displaying warmth or love
Schizoid personality disorder characteristics make it challenging for a person to form or maintain healthy relationships with others. People with schizoid personality disorder will appear to be loners who gain more pleasure from math, computers and electronics than from people. According to the APA in the DSM-5, schizoid personality disorder is an uncommon diagnosis in treatment centers, mostly because people with the condition often do not see it as a problem.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms and Characteristics
The signs and symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder overlap with schizoid personality disorder because both conditions limit a person’s ability to form relationships. However, the characteristics of schizotypal personality disorder involve several additional aspects of distorted thinking, including:
- Believing that others are talking about them
- Magical thinking patterns or odd beliefs about oneself or others
- Unusual body sensations
- Suspiciousness or paranoia
- Confusing or eccentric thinking, speaking or behavior patterns
- Peculiar appearance
- High levels of social anxiety
People with schizotypal personality disorder may experience short periods of psychosis where they see, hear or feel things that are not present. They may also have additional symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Differences Between Schizoid and Schizotypal Personality Disorder
One of the key differences between schizoid and schizotypal is the comfort with the symptoms. Someone with schizoid personality disorder usually does not care about their condition or taking steps to improve their life. On the other hand, someone with schizotypal personality disorder will likely feel a great deal of depression and anxiety as they struggle with relationships and discomfort in social situations. Because of this, people with schizotypal personality disorder are much more likely to seek treatment for the condition or associated depression and anxiety symptoms.
Other differences are the set of odd, eccentric and bizarre thoughts and actions of someone with schizotypal personality disorder. These individuals will often stand out from a crowd based on their appearance and interactions with others.
Like other mental health conditions, a variety of cluster A personality disorder treatment options exist. Anyone interested in treatment should seek a combination of therapy and medications.
For schizoid personality disorder treatment, consider:
- Talk therapy to identify and challenge faulty beliefs about relationships and begin to see the benefit of close relationships
- Medications for co-occurring anxiety or depression symptoms
For schizotypal personality disorder treatment, consider:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to learn communication skills, shift problematic behaviors and challenge distorted thinking patterns that limit relationships
- Family therapy to build trust and increase emotional closeness
- Medications, like antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to treat the symptoms
Key Points: Schizoid Personality Disorder vs. Schizotypal Personality Disorder
While schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder have many similarities, they also have plenty of differences:
- Both schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder fall into cluster A personality disorders, a group marked by odd and bizarre thoughts and behaviors
- People with schizoid personality disorder do not desire close relationships
- People with schizotypal personality disorder may want close relationships, but their symptoms make it difficult to foster these connections
- People with schizotypal personality disorder are more likely to seek treatment than people with schizoid personality disorder
- Those with more eccentric, odd or bizarre behaviors or appearances are more likely to have schizotypal than schizoid personality disorder
Substance abuse issues often accompany personality disorders. If you or a loved one are using drugs as a way to cope with mental health symptoms, it may be time to call The Recovery Village. Calling The Recovery Village puts you in touch with a representative who can guide you through the recovery process.
Esterberg, Michelle L., Goulding, Sandra M., and Walker, Elaine F. “A Personality Disorders: Schizotypal, Schizoid and Paranoid Personality Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence.” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, May 5, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2019. Mayo Clinic. “Schizoid Personality Disorder.” August 17, 2017. Accessed May 18, 2019. Mayo Clinic. “Schizotypal Personality Disorder.” August 19, 2017. Accessed May 18, 2019.
Esterberg, Michelle L., Goulding, Sandra M., and Walker, Elaine F. “A Personality Disorders: Schizotypal, Schizoid and Paranoid Personality Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence.” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, May 5, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2019.
Mayo Clinic. “Schizoid Personality Disorder.” August 17, 2017. Accessed May 18, 2019.
Mayo Clinic. “Schizotypal Personality Disorder.” August 19, 2017. Accessed May 18, 2019.