Do I Have Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hey, firstly, I have already been diagnosed with having mild Social Anxiety (by a psychiatrist) and am definitely an introverted person anyway. I came across schizotypal personality disorder having seen it mentioned and being curious as to what it was and upon googling, discovered a few aspects that sounded very similar to my own personality!

- I feel like I have unusual thinking patterns. I genuinely find the following interesting; I think a LOT in general and find it rewarding and enjoy it. I tend to wonder about the afterlife (NOT in a suicidal sense, but just in a ‘I-wonder-what-happens’ sense) and also have a great interest in the universe and natural world around me. I also find I think a lot about the history of the world and aspire to be an Archaeologist. I’m not sure if these are classified as unusual patterns, but I don’t feel like any of the people I know at school would dwell on such things. (Having said that, I do keep up-to-date with pop culture and so on, and I have pretty similar tastes in music & T.V. to everyone else in my year level at school.)

- I have a lot of magical thinking. I suppose when I say this, I mean that I am very curious as to the existence of magic and whether or not there are any forms of it in the world today; what, I have no idea. I tend to wonder about this a lot and I have a desire to travel the world and experience different cultures in order to discover whether or not magic exists. I do have career & future family aspirations, for the record, so I am not suggesting I plan to make my travels my whole life. I am not particularly religious as I have not yet made a decision where my beliefs lie. Having said all this, I do not believe that I MYSELF have any magical abilities, nor anyone around me.

- I do not believe I have ever experienced unusual perceptual experiences, though if a more detailed explanation of what this exactly means / involves would be helpful, if that’s able to be given??

- I tend to find myself very uncomfortable in social situations. Mostly, I feel I do not know what to say that would be interesting to the other person and I am constantly wanting to impress and be liked by those around me. I DO have around five close friends, with whom I spend my time at school with and catch-up at other times. However, I don’t have much to do with the rest of my year level, though I would like to. My excessive social anxiety doesn’t seem to diminish with time though in my case, it has completely to do with negative judgements of myself; e.g. I’m not funny enough / interesting enough / what I think of to talk about isn’t good enough, rather than having any mistrust of my friends or paranoia. ~~< I am not sure if these symptoms are just more to do with my previously mentioned diagnosed anxiety than anything else??

I just wanted to ask online, before jumping to conclusions. Thanks in advance for your help!

A. You’re very welcome. While I can’t know with certainty if you have a disorder, I don’t believe that you meet the criteria for schizotypal personality disorder. Most of the symptoms that you mentioned are either normal or more characteristic of an anxiety disorder. Further supporting my contention is the fact that you were evaluated by a psychiatrist and he or she diagnosed you as having an anxiety disorder rather than schizotypal personality disorder.

With regard to being interested in the afterlife, this is not an unusual interest. The majority of individuals, at some point in their lives, will contemplate what happens after we die. It is a normal and healthy interest. All religions, philosophers, and great thinkers have considered what happens after death.

The type of “magical thinking” that you experience is not the same type of “magical thinking” that is being described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM), the guidebook that mental health professionals use to diagnose mental health disorders. You described wondering if magic exists in the world. It’s normal to wonder if a particular phenomenon is real. The type of “magical thinking” that the DSM is describing is more in line with whether an individual believes that he or she is being controlled by or influenced by a paranormal phenomenon. You explicitly stated that you do not believe that you have magical powers. In my opinion, your interest in whether magic exists in the world is inconsistent with the type of magical thinking that is characteristic of schizotypal personality disorder.

The social anxiety that you described seems more characteristic of a social anxiety disorder rather than schizotypal personality disorder.

It seems as though the diagnosis your psychiatrist has provided is likely accurate. Also consider the fact that he or she presumably conducted a full-scale psychiatric and social history and after having done so concluded that you have a social anxiety disorder rather than schizotypal personality disorder.

It is wise to conduct research on other possible related mental health disorders. It is also wise not to jump to conclusions. My recommendation would be to learn as much as you can about social anxiety disorder and use that education to help with the disorder. Fortunately, you are in treatment. With treatment, you can expect the elimination of social anxiety from your life. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Do I Have Schizotypal Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/21/do-i-have-schizotypal-personality-disorder/

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