Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a mental health condition that causes a person to have little or no interest in connecting with others. People with SPD may seem distant, aloof, or passive.
SPD is a rare condition, affecting only around
People with SPD may not experience very strong emotions, sexual desire, or pleasure in many activities. As with other personality disorders, they may also not realize they have the condition.
However, for those who have SPD and who would like to seek treatment to better understand their condition, learn how to manage their feelings, and improve their quality of life or social relationships, a therapist can help.
This article will explore SPD, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a condition that causes little to no interest in forming close relationships. People with SPD can seem distant or detached from others, and appear indifferent to praise or criticism. They
In SPD, this ambivalence towards relationships is not the result of other conditions, such as depression, nor is it due to a personal preference. It is a lifelong pattern of behavior that begins in childhood, and applies to all aspects of life.
According to the
They must also have four of the following:
- no desire for, or enjoyment of, close relationships
- chooses solitary activities
- little or no interest in sexual experiences
- gets pleasure from few activities
- lacks close friends
- seems detached or has a lack of emotion
For the condition to be SPD, these symptoms must not occur due to another condition, such as depression or autism. They must also be unusual within the culture a person belongs to.
For example, if a person comes from a culture where having fewer friends is typical, them having one or two close connections may not be a sign of SPD. But if they have no close relationships, no interest in forming them, and this is unusual in their culture, this could be SPD.
Doctors do not know what causes SPD. Genetics may be a factor, because if one family member has SPD, others are also
Having cold or neglectful parents or caregivers may also contribute to SPD by teaching children that personal relationships are not satisfying. An
Brain injuries or differences in brain structure could also play a role. A small older study found an association between experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and numerous personality disorders.
Of the 60 people in the study, 14 had at least 1 personality disorder, and 6.7% developed SPD. Larger studies on the causes of SPD are necessary to fully understand the causes.
A mental health professional may start by looking at the individual’s medical history. They may ask questions about symptoms, talk with them over one or more interviews, and may perform assessments for other causes, such as autism, if appropriate.
However, it may take time to reach the right diagnosis. Personality disorders can be challenging to identify because many people who have them do not realize there is something atypical about their behavior.
People with SPD typically seek medical help only when they develop another condition, such as anxiety or depression, or when family members encourage them.
For this reason, doctors may also work with a person’s loved ones to collect more evidence to help with the diagnosis.
To date, there has not been much research on the treatments that work most effectively for SPD specifically. Treatment tends to be similar to the treatment for other personality disorders. The main approach is talk therapy or psychotherapy.
Talking therapies may help a person with SPD learn more about how to be aware of their emotions and thoughts. Therapy can also help develop social and cognitive skills, making it easier to create relationships with other people.
Anyone who is concerned they may have SPD, or any other mental health condition, can speak with a professional for advice. People can contact a doctor or a mental health helpline to ask questions confidentially.
That said, it is
Those who do find these experiences distressing may have another condition that is affecting their mood, social engagement, or sex drive. A therapist can help with this, too.
Anyone experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide should seek help as soon as possible.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is a
People with SPD may not realize they have a mental health condition, nor feel the need to treat it. However, people with SPD can also experience anxiety, depression, and sometimes, loneliness. It is important that anyone experiencing these symptoms seeks professional support.