Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by strange beliefs and by peculiar behaviors, thoughts and speech. Individuals with this disorder tend to demonstrate limited emotions, experience social anxiety and distrust others. The behavior of individuals with the condition may seem eccentric and cause many people to misunderstand the disorder, possibly leading them to believe some common myths about schizotypal personality disorder. Fortunately, facts about schizotypal personality disorder can help with understanding the condition better. 

Myth 1: Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a Rare Condition

Fact: Schizotypal personality disorder is more common than it may seem and more common than other personality disorders.  

According to schizotypal personality disorder statistics, the prevalence of schizotypal personality disorder in the United States is nearly 4%. The prevalence rate is slightly higher in women, at 4.2%, compared to 3.7% in men. 

Research shows that the occurrence of schizotypal personality disorder is higher than that of several other personality disorders, including antisocial, histrionic and dependent personality disorder. For example, several studies found that the prevalence of dependent personality disorder is under 1%. Comparatively speaking, schizotypal personality disorder is not a rare condition. 

Myth 2: Schizotypal Personality Disorder Resembles Schizophrenia

Fact: While schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia have some similar characteristics, the two are distinct mental health conditions. 

Some symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder may appear similar to those seen in schizophrenia. For example, schizophrenia symptoms include unusual thoughts and a lack of emotional expression, which are characteristics also seen in cases of schizotypal personality disorder. 

The difference between schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia is that the latter is more severe and involves psychotic features, such as hallucinations and delusions. Individuals with schizophrenia demonstrate psychosis, whereas it is reported that those with schizotypal personality disorder generally do not appear psychotic, as they are able to recognize when reality is different from their own thoughts. 

While schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder are two separate conditions, it is possible that someone with schizotypal personality disorder may develop schizophrenia later in life. Almost 30% of adolescents with schizotypal personality disorder will later develop psychosis, making the personality disorder a risk factor for schizophrenia. There are shared genetic and neurological factors underlying both schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia, so schizotypal personality disorder may be regarded as fitting in the continuum of schizophrenia.  

Myth 3: Schizotypal Personality Disorder is Common in Older Adults

Fact: Schizotypal personality disorder generally manifests itself before the beginning of adulthood.

Some people may believe that schizotypal personality disorder is common in older adults, but the average age of onset of schizotypal personality disorder is during adolescence through early adulthood. Diagnostic criteria for schizotypal personality disorder stipulates that symptoms must be present by the start of adulthood. 

Schizotypal personality disorder statistics demonstrate that this disorder is not common in older adults. One study showed that 55% of people with this personality disorder show symptoms before age 20, and 14% become symptomatic before age 14. The risk of developing schizotypal personality disorder ceases once a person turns 40. 

Additional statistics confirm that schizotypal personality disorder is not common in older adults. Among those between 65 and 74 years old, the prevalence of the disorder is 1.89% for men and 1.25% for women. By the age of 85 and beyond, prevalence drops to 0.18 percent for men and 1.5 percent for women. 

Myth 4: Schizotypal Personality Disorder Isn’t Treatable

Fact: Treatment is available for schizotypal personality disorder, and it can help individuals with this condition to lead fulfilling, productive lives. 

Schizotypal personality disorder treatment can involve medications, counseling or a combination of the two. Generally, treatment includes antipsychotic medications. Doctors may also treat schizotypal personality disorder with antidepressants to help patients manage the anxiety associated with this condition. A type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals with schizotypal personality disorder develop social skills and coping mechanisms to understand how their thoughts and behaviors may seem peculiar to others.

If you or a loved one live with a substance use disorder co-occurring with a mental health disorder, like schizotypal personality disorder, contact The Recovery Village to speak with a representative about how treatment helps people live healthier lives. You or your loved one deserve good health, call today.

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