Wondering how to help someone who has schizotypal personality disorder? Learn tips on how you can offer compassionate help.
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd or eccentric behaviors and difficulty interpreting social cues. Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder frequently have few, if any, close relationships.
This disorder consists of symptoms like:
- Failure to understand the impact of behaviors on other people
- Misinterpretations of other people’s motivations
- Deep-rooted distrust of other people
Additionally, many people with schizotypal personality disorder experience other, co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety and, in some cases, depression. These symptoms can push people away, making schizotypal personality disorder an even more challenging condition to live with.
While treatment is unlikely to cause schizotypal personality disorder to remit, symptoms can be improved with medication, therapy and the support of family members and other caring individuals.
Having a loved one with schizotypal personality disorder can be very trying and exhausting. Because people with schizotypal personality disorder often do not make friends, family members are frequently the only supports available. Parents especially may want to know how to help their child with schizotypal personality disorder and may find themselves gravely disappointed by the responses they usually receive.
While it is unlikely that schizotypal personality disorder will be completely relieved, there is reason to have hope. It is possible for someone to experience symptom improvement with treatment and social support.
If a loved one has schizotypal personality disorder, take the time to learn about the disorder and develop an understanding of its symptoms. Then, you can encourage them to seek treatment, as it is unusual for someone with this disorder to seek help unless they are urged to do so.
Remember, despite sounding similar, schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia are not the same. Many people base their assumptions about schizotypal personality disorder on their understanding of schizophrenia. When supporting a loved one, it is important not to have this misconception.
Tips for Supporting Someone With Schizotypal Personality Disorder
While it may be tempting to attempt to control the life of someone with schizotypal personality disorder, this is ultimately more likely to be harmful. Additionally, avoid trying to fix someone’s problems and intervene in situations as it is important for a person to believe in their ability to handle difficulties. A factor that may reduce the symptoms of this disorder is experiencing a sense of achievement. Provide challenges and responsibilities for a loved one with schizotypal personality disorder rather than attempting to simplify their life unnecessarily.
Supporting a Loved One Through Treatment for Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Positive family relationships are correlated with better treatment outcomes for schizotypal personality disorder. Families should be engaged in the therapy process and, when appropriate, should seek additional therapy. A therapist can help family members learn how to create a supportive home environment for a person with schizotypal personality disorder.
Other ways to support a loved one can include:
- Avoiding enabling behaviors
- Offering positive reinforcement for well-handled responsibilities
- Giving reassurance that they are worthy of love and friendship
- Offering to drive them to therapy appointments
- Regularly asking how they are doing to show interest in their life
Where to Find Help for Your Loved One
Schizotypal personality disorder is most frequently treated using a combination of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and medication.
Therapy can be helpful by building trust with a therapist, which may then help a person be more trusting of other people. Therapy options like cognitive behavioral therapy frequently include challenging faulty thinking, learning adaptive skills and improving trust within family relationships.
Currently, there are no medications approved to treat schizotypal personality disorder, but medications may be used to treat specific symptoms such as anxiety, depression or psychotic episodes.
Compared with the general population, people with schizotypal personality disorder are more likely to have a substance use disorder. When someone has a drug or alcohol addiction and a personality disorder, they have what is called a dual diagnosis, and often need treatment that addresses both conditions at the same time.
If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health condition like schizotypal personality disorder, The Recovery Village can help. We have facilities across the country to treat substance use and co-occurring disorders. As a first step toward treatment for yourself or a loved one, you can speak with a representative today.
Skodol, A. “Schizotypal Personality Disorder.” Merck Manual, May 2018. Accessed February 23, 2019.
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.