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Schizoid Personality Disorder

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How Common Is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

It is difficult to accurately assess the prevalence of this disorder, because people with schizoid personality disorder rarely seek treatment. Schizoid personality disorder affects men more often than women, and is more common in people who have close relatives with schizophrenia.

Schizoid personality disorder usually begins in late adolescence or early adulthood.

What Causes Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Little is known about the cause of schizoid personality disorder, but both genetics and environment are suspected to play a role. Some mental health professionals speculate that a bleak childhood where warmth and emotion were absent contributes to the development of the disorder. The higher risk for schizoid personality disorder in families of schizophrenics suggests that a genetic susceptibility for the disorder might be inherited.

How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

If symptoms of this personality disorder are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and possible physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose personality disorders, the doctor might use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical illness as the cause of the symptoms.

If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she might refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, health care professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a personality disorder.

How Is Schizoid Personality Disorder Treated?

People with this personality disorder rarely seek treatment, because their thoughts and behavior generally do not cause them distress. When treatment is sought, psychotherapy -- a form of counseling -- is the form of treatment most often used. Treatment likely will focus on increasing general coping skills, as well as on improving social interaction, communication, and self-esteem. Because trust is an important component of therapy, treatment can be challenging for the therapist, because people with schizoid personality disorder have difficulty forming relationships with others.

Medication is generally not used to treat schizoid personality disorder itself. Drugs might, however, be prescribed if the person also suffers from an associated psychological problem, such as depression.

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