With schizoid personality disorder, you may withdraw from social interactions and have trouble with relationships.
Schizoid personality disorder is a mental health condition primarily characterized by social withdrawal. It usually begins when you’re a young adult, although some people may have had signs during their childhood.
Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder include a preference for a solitary life and a lower interest in relationships than what’s typical. With schizoid personality disorder, you might not express much emotion or feel influenced by praise or criticism.
Although you might be content to keep to yourself, you may want to consider how treatment for this condition could make social interactions easier for you.
Treatment can help you develop skills and strategies to help with your daily life, such as when you interact with other people at work.
A cure is when the condition goes away completely after treatment.
While there is no cure for schizoid personality disorder, there are treatments that can help you connect with others around you.
Some treatments can help you manage your symptoms or address the root causes of this condition.
Honing your people skills can also foster interpersonal connections. Strengthening relationships with other people can improve your quality of life in ways you may only appreciate once you’ve had this experience.
Therapy is the main treatment for schizoid personality disorder. This involves spending time building rapport with a therapist. Though this may take some time and effort, it’s usually well worth the benefits for people with this condition.
The main goal of therapy is to help you manage the way that schizoid personality disorder affects your life.
Keep in mind that for personality disorders, therapy can take a few months to produce results, so it’s important to persist long enough for it to have an effect.
Certain types of therapy are not meant to be long term. However, since schizoid personality disorder is chronic, you may want to return to therapy in the future, even after you’ve finished a series of sessions.
Your therapist may encourage you to talk about your thoughts and feelings. This might not be easy at first, but many people become more comfortable with the process over time.
There are several types of therapy to choose from.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on the way that your thoughts can affect your behavior. It’s evidence-based, which means
CBT is the most researched form of psychotherapy. Therapists use CBT to help with a wide range of conditions, not just schizoid personality disorder.
The situations we encounter in life trigger us to have automatic thoughts, which then affect the way we feel and respond. With CBT, your therapist may encourage you to examine those automatic thoughts to see if they might be interfering with your well-being.
This form of therapy helps people learn to replace negative thoughts with more constructive ways of thinking that can make you feel better.
CBT begins with a goal. Your therapist may help you choose this goal based on changes you’d like to make in your life. You might identify thoughts leading to behaviors that interfere with your goal and replace those thoughts with others that can help.
Characteristics of CBT include:
- emphasis on positive thinking
- treatment plans and goals that evolve along with your thought processes
- focusing on the present, rather than an examination of the past
- therapy “homework”
- limited sessions, rather than ongoing meetings
Many people use CBT to learn new interpersonal skills, including how to express feelings. That’s one particular reason why this therapy is a great starting place for schizoid personality disorder treatment.
Psychodynamic therapy is a faster, more streamlined alternative to traditional psychoanalysis. It offers insight into your life by exploring the unconscious processes that drive behavior.
Psychodynamic therapy can be goal-oriented and short term or flexible and long term.
Areas your therapist might invite you to examine include:
- interactions with the people in your life
- how your early life relationships have affected you today
- denial, repression, and rationalization as common defense mechanisms
- how unconscious thoughts can influence your behavior
- free association to gain insight into your hidden thoughts and fears
Interactions with your therapist provide an opportunity for you to develop self-expression and communication skills. The way you respond to your therapist often reflects the way you relate to other people you encounter.
While CBT can help you examine current thought patterns that create distance between yourself and others, psychodynamic therapy focuses on the role that your past may have had on this issue.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Dialectical refers to the concept of opposite forces.
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) teaches that opposites can lead to the truth and that all things are connected. It also helps participants learn to accept the constant and inevitable nature of change.
The components of DBT include:
- individual therapy
- skills training group sessions
- telephone coaching
- therapy consultation teams
Therapists might assign homework and may be available for phone calls between sessions, if needed.
With DBT, you may learn skills such as:
- emotional regulation
- distress tolerance
- interpersonal effectiveness, like how to manage conflict, ask for what you need, and listen well
Therapists use DBT for chronic issues and with people who haven’t responded to other forms of therapy.
Find a therapist
Here are some places to start if you’re looking for a therapist.
- This Psych Central article: Find a Therapist: Mental Health Resources for Everyone
- American Psychiatric Association’s Find a Psychiatrist tool
- American Psychological Association’s Find a Psychologist tool
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helplines and Support Tools
National Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline Directory
- Therapy in Color — helps connect people of color with therapists
- Therapy for Black Girls — a resource guide for Black women looking for therapy
- The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association — resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander people looking for mental health help
- Therapy for Latinx — helping Latinx people connect with a therapist
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Doctors do not typically recommend treating schizoid personality disorder or other personality disorders with medication.
However, you may have a related condition that might benefit from medication, like anxiety or depression. For example, fluoxetine (Prozac) is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication that doctors often prescribe for anxiety.
In addition, some medications can treat the individual symptoms of schizoid personality disorder. An example of this is bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), an antidepressant medication that may help increase your interest in activities.
The goal of medication use in personality disorders is to reduce the effect of symptoms so that it’s easier to participate in other treatments, like therapy.
It’s a good idea to try therapy first, since most medications have side effects. If you still want to try medication, you can consult with a healthcare professional to discuss the possible benefits and side effects of each option.
If you have schizoid personality disorder, seeking out an accurate diagnosis can be the quickest way to connect with effective treatment.
Psychiatrists and psychologists diagnose personality disorders like schizoid personality disorder. To do this, they’ll interview you and assess your history, both social and personal.
A doctor can also categorize your symptoms using checklists and compare the results to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) (DSM-5). This is the reference that doctors and therapists use in the United States to diagnose most mental health conditions.
To diagnose schizoid personality disorder, your doctor may rule out other conditions or situations that could explain your symptoms.
Additionally, if you have schizoid personality disorder, you may be more likely to have other conditions that may also be causing your symptoms.
Conditions that some people experience with schizoid personality disorder include:
- schizotypal personality disorder
- avoidant personality disorder
- paranoid personality disorder
- obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
Diagnoses do not always come in groups, however. If you have schizoid personality disorder, it’s very possible that it’s your only diagnosis.
It may seem like your doctor is asking many detailed questions, but this is to rule out or identify other conditions.
While schizoid personality disorder is chronic and does not have a no cure, there are many treatment options that may help you better connect with the people in your life.
Human connections can enrich your life and make your everyday experience easier in many ways. For example, most people reach out to friends, family, or co-workers when they need help. If you have schizoid personality disorder, you may find this easier to do after you’ve worked with a therapist to improve how you relate to others.
You may want to give treatment a try — experiencing social connections firsthand may help you better understand the benefits of treatment.
Treatment options mainly include different forms of therapy, but sometimes they incorporate medication. However, medications are more often prescribed for co-occurring conditions, not schizoid personality disorder itself.
Like all mental health conditions, it may take time and effort to find the treatment plan that works best for you. You may have to try multiple things before developing a treatment plan.
Find a therapist
If you’re ready to seek help, speaking with a therapist can often be a smart first step. Here’s where you can start:
- The American Psychiatric Association (APA): APA’s find a psychiatrist tool
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI’s 24/7 helplines and support tools
- National Institute of Mental Health: helpline
- Therapy in Color: an organization that helps connect people of color with therapists
- Therapy for Black Girls: a resource guide for Black women looking for therapy
- The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association: resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander people looking for mental health help
- Therapy for Latinx: an organization helping Latinx people connect with a mental health help
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