Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis
Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder symptoms have long-term, inflexible, and persistent patterns of social and interpersonal limitations. They feel extremely uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy, even sex. Sufferers may have very eccentric beliefs and behaviors that make it difficult for others to feel comfortable around them.
Common Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality
The common symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder manifest in people in the following ways:
- Eccentric beliefs or magical thinking that affects behavior and are not aligned with cultural norms: This might include odd fantasies or daydreams; belief in mental telepathy or a bizarre extrasensory power; strange superstitions.
- Distorted perceptions and body illusions: For example, an affected person may think they see something out of the corner of his eye or hear sounds that aren't there. He quickly realizes they aren't there and understands that they do not represent actual events.
- Peculiar appearance or speech: People with schizotypal personality disorder may not dress or groom themselves appropriately for work or other social settings.They may have stilted speech or simply not respond at all to direct questions or comments directed at them.
- No close friends: Because they prefer solitude to interacting with others, they typically do not form close relationships with others.
- Intense anxiety in social situations: People with this condition experience intense anxiety in social situations even with people with whom they have long-term familiarity, such as family members.
- Suspiciousness and paranoid cognition: A schizotypal personality will harbor unfounded suspicions about those around him. He may find the most innocent gestures suspicious and feel others are "out to get" him.
Diagnosis of Schizotypal Personality Disorder
People with a long-standing pattern of several of the above schizotypal personality disorder symptoms could receive a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder from a physician or other qualified mental health professional.
Diagnosis requires a person undergo a full psychological evaluation conducted by a trained mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist. General and family physicians typically don't have the experience to properly diagnose and treat psychological conditions. Often, however, they can spot issues and problematic thinking and refer patients to a mental health professional for a psychological work-up.
The problem with diagnosing schizotypal personality disorder is that most people with the condition do not seek help; nor, do they want it. Comparing a person's symptoms with those listed above, along with considering family history of mental illness and other related factors, allows a psychiatrist or psychologist to make a definitive diagnosis.