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    Schizotypal Personality Disorder

    What Causes Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

    Genetics may play some role in the development of schizotypal personality disorder. This disorder is more common in relatives of people with schizophrenia and typically develops in early adulthood. Inborn temperament, coupled with a person's unique reactions to life events, relationships in early life, and development of coping strategies likely together contribute importantly to the formation of personality during childhood and adolescence, and its abnormal development.

    How Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

    If symptoms are present, a health care professional will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and 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 someone for a personality disorder.

    How Is Schizotypal Personality Disorder Treated?

    People with schizotypal personality disorder rarely seek treatment for the disorder itself. When they do seek treatment, it most often is due to a related disorder, such as depression or anxiety.

    Psychotherapy -- a form of counseling -- is the form of treatment most often used. The goal of therapy is to help a person change his or her interpersonal styles, expectations, coping patterns, and habits of thinking and behavior, in order to develop more appropriate and effective social skills. Through treatment, people with this disorder can often be taught to recognize when they are distorting reality.

    People with schizotypal personality disorder who also suffer from another disorder, such as anxiety or depression, might benefit from medication, such as an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug. In some instances, especially at times of crises or extreme stress, severe symptoms might develop, requiring a brief period of hospitalization. However, medications are usually not the main focus of treatment for personality disorders.

    Treatment for people with this disorder is most effective when family members are involved and supportive.

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