Schizotypal personality disorder may include severe anxiety, paranoia, disorganized thinking, odd beliefs, derealization and psychosis.

What Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

Schizotypal personality disorder may include severe anxiety, paranoia, disorganized thinking, odd beliefs, derealization and psychosis. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, schizotypal personality disorder is categorized as a cluster A personality disorder.

Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Signs and symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder may appear during childhood, but they are typically not fully formed until early adulthood. Because a person’s personality constantly changes during childhood and adolescence, a diagnosis of this disorder may not occur until early adulthood.

The World Health Organization’s diagnostic guidelines, called the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, lists the following symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder:

  • Cold or inappropriate affect
  • Anhedonia
  • Odd or eccentric behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Paranoid or bizarre ideas not amounting to true delusions
  • Obsessive ruminations
  • Thought disorder and perceptual disturbances
  • Occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes
  • Auditory or other hallucinations
  • Delusional ideas

The above list of schizotypal personality disorder symptoms may sound very similar to schizophrenia to the untrained practitioner. However, even though there are some similarities, schizotypal personality disorder does not have any of the specific characteristics of schizophrenia.

Causes of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Some research suggests that there may be a genetic component to the development of schizotypal personality disorder. This disorder is more common in families that also have a history of schizophrenia. However, schizotypal personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia.

While genetics may play a part in the development of schizotypal personality disorder, environmental factors seem to be the deciding factor in whether a person will develop this condition. Usually, throughout childhood, a person learns to understand social cues and to respond to social situations appropriately.

For someone with schizotypal personality disorder, this type of learning does not occur. Instead, the person may be uncomfortable in social situations, to the point where they may avoid any social interactions altogether. Interactions during childhood may be to blame as negative interactions, and traumatic experiences may prevent the normal course of social learning. Strict or cold parenting styles, separation from caregivers at an early age, neglect and abuse all may cause schizotypal personality disorder. However, these experiences during childhood do not mean a person will develop this disorder.

How Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

There is no schizotypal personality disorder test and general use of the diagnostic criteria is not recommended. Usually, it is preferable to seek an assessment from an experienced professional. Generally, at least four of the above-listed symptoms must be present for this diagnosis.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder Statistics

Schizotypal personality disorder is understudied when compared to other mental health diagnoses. The prevalence is estimated to be between 3 to 4 percent of the population. Men are more likely to develop this disorder, perhaps due to cultural norms that steer males away from expressing emotions.

Who Is at Risk for Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

The most significant risk factor for developing schizotypal personality disorder is having a family history of schizophrenia. Environmental risk factors typically refer to childhood experiences. Children who have been abused or neglected and raised by cold, distant caregivers are at higher risk of later developing this personality disorder.

If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction and schizotpyal personality disorder, The Recovery Village can help. Our treatment facilities located across the country offer comprehensive care to help you leave addiction behind. Our programs encourage physical wellness through schizotypal personality disorder treatment and mental healing through individual, group and family counseling. To learn more, or to get started with rehab, call The Recovery Village today at 866-864-5528. Our caring representatives are available to take your call, answer your questions and guide you toward a program that meets your needs.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Denise-Marie Griswold, LCAS
Denise-Marie Griswold is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. She earned her Master's Degree in Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling from East Carolina University in 2014. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.