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Schizotypal personality disorder

Definition

Schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) is a mental condition in which a person has trouble with relationships and disturbances in thought patterns, appearance, and behavior.

Alternative Names

Personality disorder - schizotypal

Causes

Causes of SPD are unknown. Genes are thought to be involved because this condition is more common in relatives of schizophrenics.

Symptoms

SPD should not be confused with schizophrenia. People with SPD can have odd beliefs and behaviors, but unlike people with schizophrenia, they are not disconnected from reality and usually DO NOT hallucinate. They also DO NOT have delusions.

People with SPD may be very disturbed. They may also have unusual preoccupations and fears, such as fear of being monitored by government agencies.

More commonly, people with this disorder behave oddly and have unusual beliefs (such as aliens). They cling to these beliefs so strongly that they have difficulty forming and keeping close relationships.

People with SPD may also have depression. A second personality disorder, such as paranoid personality disorder, is also common.

Common signs of SPD include:

  • Discomfort in social situations
  • Inappropriate displays of feelings
  • No close friends
  • Odd behavior or appearance
  • Odd beliefs, fantasies, or preoccupations
  • Odd speech

Exams and Tests

SPD is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation. The health care provider will consider how long and how severe the person's symptoms are.

Treatment

Talk therapy is an important part of treatment. Social skills training can help some people cope with social situations. Medicines may also be a helpful addition.

Outlook (Prognosis)

SPD is usually a long-term (chronic) illness. Outcome of treatment varies based on the severity of the disorder.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

  • Poor social skills
  • Lack of interpersonal relationships

When to Contact a Medical Professional

See your provider or a mental health professional if you or someone you know has symptoms of SPD.

Prevention

There is no known prevention. Awareness of risk, such as a family history of schizophrenia, may allow early diagnosis.

References

American Psychiatric Association. Schizotypal personality disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013;655-659.

Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 39.

Rosell DR, Futterman SE, McMaster A, Siever LJ. Schizotypal personality disorder: a current review. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014;16(7):452. PMID: 24828284 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24828284.

Review Date:11/18/2016
Reviewed By:Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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