From working the midnight shift to living in a parent's basement, people with schizoid personality disorder organize their entire lives around solitude. Schizoid personality disorder, or SPD, is a mental disorder observed in less than one-percent of the American population. People with SPD neither desire, nor enjoy, close relationships with others, including family members. Because of this, they almost always choose solitary occupations and activities. The desire for solitude is so strong in people with SPD, that even SEXUAL relationships with others are generally not attractive to them. In everyday life, people with schizoid personality disorder appear indifferent to BOTH praise and criticism. Similarly, they tend to be aloof and to show little emotion... Their flat facial expressions and emotionless patterns of speech often cause people with SPD to appear dull to others. The symptoms of SPD are so severe that people with the condition are often unable to experience ANY pleasure in life. This is known as anhedonia, and it may cause people with SPD to retreat into daydreams and fantasies. Despite their incredibly anti-social nature, people with schizoid personality disorder ARE generally able to function in everyday life. Schizoid personality disorder is a chronic illness with a poor outlook. The social isolation of the disorder often prevents the person from seeking the help or support that could potentially improve the outcome. People with schizoid personality disorder tend to shun interaction with medical professionals and are likely to seek help only at the urging of relatives or teachers or intervention by the legal system. Treatment MAY be helpful, though people with this disorder rarely seek it. Since personality tends to become entrenched with age, treatment for this personality disorder tends to be more effective if it begins as early as possible. Little is known about which treatments work. Talk therapy may not be effective, because people with schizoid personality disorder have difficulty relating well to others. If a person with schizoid personality disorder DOES undergo psychotherapy, the focus will be on teaching the person how to better interact socially and improve communication skills. A patient's past may also be examined and discussed as it is believed that a cold, unloving environment in childhood may contribute to the development of SPD in adulthood. Genetics seem to play a role in schizoid personality disorder's development as well, which means medication may ALSO help ease symptoms. For example, individuals who experience severe anhedonia may be treated with the anti-depressant bupropion, which is branded as Wellbutrin. Or, anti-psychotics like risperidone, which is branded as Risperdal and olanzapine, branded as Zyprexa, may be prescribed for patients with severe flattened emotions. Although treatment CAN help, most SPD sufferers are UNLIKELY to seek it, because their symptoms do not generally cause them distress. This makes it all the more important that family members stay alert to signs of schizoid personality disorder!
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012