With so many psychotic disorders and personality disorders it can be hard to keep them all straight. There is schizotypal personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and more. You might be wondering what exactly the difference is between them.
The first thing that is important to mention is that schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder are indeed personality disorders. In contrast, schizophrenia is what is known as a psychotic disorder. There are many differences between schizophrenia and the other two disorders mentioned above. However, here I focus specifically on the differences between schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder.
What is Schizotypal Disorder?
Schizotypal personality disorder is one of many personality disorders described in the DSM-5. Because it is a personality disorder the symptoms tend to be pervasive, entrenched, and long-standing . Schizotypal personality disorder specifically is characterized by a pattern of social and interpersonal difficulties. Someone with the disorder might feel uncomfortable with close relationships and therefore have very few of them.
Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder
The symptoms of this disorder center around social problems and delusional beliefs. For a very succinct explanation of the symptoms you can look here. According to the DSM-5 these are the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder:
- Social and interpersonal deficits
- Thinking that coincidences or events have personal meaning
- Magical thinking or “odd beliefs”
- Bodily illusions or strange perceptual experiences
- Being suspicious or paranoid
- Not expressing emotions
- Behavior that is eccentric
- Lack of close friends
- Social anxiety
It is very important to note that these symptoms do not happen during the course of another mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or anything else. In order for someone to be diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder the symptoms must happen when there is no other disorder present.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
One study found that the lifetime prevalence of Schizotypal personality disorder was 3.9% in the general population. There is some evidence to suggest that people with addiction or substance use disorders have a higher prevalence of the disorder. Schizotypal personality disorder is slightly more common in males than in females. So, males might be at higher risk for developing the disorder.
Other risk factors include genetic or social considerations. It seems that the disorder is slightly more common in people who have a mother, father, or sibling with the disorder. Although it is not conclusive, there is also some evidence to suggest that people who have relatives with psychotic disorders (like schizophrenia) might be at higher risk for schizotypal.
What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Much like schizotypal, schizoid personality disorder is listed with the personality disorders in the DSM-5. This means that the symptoms will also be pervasive and long-standing. Schizoid personality disorder specifically is marked by a detachment from social relationships and a difficulty expressing emotions. People who have this disorder might seem disinterested or apathetic in close relationships. They also don’t appear to get the same of pleasure from social relationships that others do.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
The symptoms of schizoid personality disorder center around detachment from close relationships. Here is the symptoms for the disorder as they are described in the DSM:
- Pervasive pattern of detachment from close relationships
- Difficulty expressing emotions in the presence of others
- Does not enjoy or desire relationships
- Choses to be alone most the the time
- Little, if any, interest in sexual activity with another person
- Takes pleasure in very few activities
- Does not have close friends
- Seems indifferent to praise or blame from others
- Someone cannot be diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder if the symptoms of it only show up during the course of another psychological disorder. It also cannot be due to the psychological effects of medication or another medical condition.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
There is evidence to suggest that the lifetime prevalence of the disorder is 4.9%. It is diagnosed slightly more often in males. It is also possible that the disorder causes more impairment in males than it does in females. Regarding risk factors for the disorder, there is some evidence to suggest that people who have family members with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder are at increased risk.
The Differences Between Schizotypal and Schizoid
After reading all of this you might be thinking, these sound pretty similar. Due to the similarities it can be difficult for people to get the correct diagnosis. It is important to look at the differences between them so that someone can be diagnosed with the right one. When clinicians do this it is called a differential diagnosis.
The main difference between schizotypal and schizoid personality disorder is that schizoid does not have any paranoid ideation or suspiciousness. This means that people with a schizoid diagnosis will not be overly worried about other people’s motivations or worried that people are out to get them. However, people with schizotypal personality disorder will have these kinds of beliefs.
The next difference has to do with the reasons people with these disorders isolate themselves. For people with schizotypal personality disorder the isolation and lack of close friendships is due to social anxiety or eccentricity. For schizoid personality disorder this type of isolation is due to a lack of interest in other people. Additionally, people with schizotypal personality disorder might still want to have social relationships. However, they might be unable to have them due to the social anxiety or strange behavior. People with schizoid personality disorder generally do not want close relationships.
The final difference between them has to do with behavior. People with schizotypal personality disorder tend to have odd or eccentric behavior. This behavior is usually do to paranoia or suspiciousness of others. People with schizoid personality disorder tend not to show this same kind of “strange” behavior.