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Schizotypal Personality Disorder

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Schizotypal personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia. While the two conditions share certain traits, such as the individual suffering from strange, distorted ideas about reality, having episodes of paranoia, and being socially isolated, there are differences.

One key difference is that people with schizotypal personality disorder can become aware of the distortion of their thoughts and can understand that they are not seeing things clearly, whereas people with schizophrenia rarely have the ability to do this.

People with schizotypal personality disorder may be completely out of sync with others. They may have strange behaviors, dress oddly, consider themselves to be aliens or outsiders and have an extreme level of anxiety that does not decrease over time. They may have co-existing mental health conditions such as paranoid personality disorder or major depression.

As with any personality disorder, a person must be 18 years of age or older in order to be properly diagnosed. Many people find symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder decrease in intensity past the age of 40, which is also common with personality disorders.

Many people experience relief through either talk therapy or medication or a combination of both. While schizotypal personality disorder is often chronic and lifelong, each person and each case is unique. Some people also benefit from social groups and socialization therapy.

Some of the warning signs of schizotypal personality disorder include:

• Experiencing discomfort in social situations
• Perceptibly inappropriate displays of feelings
• Difficulty maintaining or creating friendships resulting in having no close friends
• Demonstrating odd behavior or appearance
• Experiencing odd beliefs, fantasies, or preoccupations
• Having odd speech

Other symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder include:

• Incorrect interpretation of events, including feeling that external events have personal meaning
• Peculiar thinking, beliefs or behavior
• Belief in special powers, such as telepathy
• Perceptual alterations, in some cases bodily illusions, including phantom pains or other distortions in the sense of touch
• Idiosyncratic speech, such as loose or vague patterns of speaking or tendency to go off on tangents
• Suspicious or paranoid ideas
• Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
• Lack of close friends outside of the immediate family
• Persistent and excessive social anxiety that doesn't abate with time

If you or a loved one is experiencing these signs and symptoms, please consult your health care professional. It is often a great relief to be able to honestly share about the suffering that these symptoms can cause and to find someone who may be able to help.


Mayo Clinic. Schizotypal personality disorder. Retrieved from the internet on December 12, 2011


PubMed Health. Schizotypal personality disorder. Last Reviewed May 6, 2011
Retrieved from the internet on December 12, 2011

Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER

Reviewed December 15, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.