Apathy, eccentric behaviors and appearance, and social withdrawal are some of the most common symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder as per the DSM-5.
Living with schizotypal personality disorder is unique for each person. But, in general, you may have feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that others describe as unusual, eccentric, or atypical.
This personality disorder is also characterized by symptoms like:
- odd beliefs and behaviors
- distorted perceptions
- relationship challenges
Schizotypal personality is likely caused by a combination of factors, like:
- childhood experiences and bonds
- environmental factors
- social influences
The treatment options include therapy, social skills training, and medication for overlapping symptoms like depression.
There are nine symptoms outlined in the reference guide that professionals use to make a diagnosis, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR).
To receive a formal diagnosis, five or more of these schizotypal symptoms must be evident across different situations and persistently over time:
1. Ideas of reference
If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Truman Show,” about a man who’s unknowingly the protagonist in a live broadcast, it may help explain what it feels like to have ideas of reference.
These are the belief that external situations are somehow tied to you in a meaningful way, when they may actually be random or unrelated. For example, you may read an Instagram caption from your favorite musician and believe it’s a message for you.
Ideas of reference are similar to delusions with schizophrenia, although they’re not fixed or unchangeable. When you have a schizotypal personality, you may be aware of these thoughts and entertain other logical explanations when offered.
2. Odd beliefs
In this case, “odd” refers to things that differ from cultural norms.
Odd beliefs can include superstitions and magical thinking, which is when you link two unrelated factors together and behave in a way that supports that view.
For example, you may feel that you must stay awake on a plane and concentrate on keeping it in the air, or it’ll crash. Or perhaps you believe you have extra senses, like the ability to read minds or influence the weather.
3. Perception distortions
You may have perceptions that alter the way you see the world, and that may make you see things in a way that others don’t share.
For example, you may see shadows or movements in your peripheral vision, or sounds that others don’t pick up on. These distortions can be similar to hallucinations, but may not be as intense or persistent.
You may also be able to understand these perceptions are distorted and not real, which helps distinguish the experience from an episode of psychosis.
4. Odd communication
In this case, “odd” refers to communicating in a way that’s distinct from others. You may find that you have a hard time relaying your ideas in a way that people can understand.
- fewer expressed emotions
- increased pauses
- monotonal (less variability)
- slower rate of speech
Feelings of paranoia can make it difficult to detect people’s motives or how they feel about you. For example, you may feel suspicious that your co-workers are trying to get you fired, or your therapist is recording sessions to post online.
6. Inappropriate affect and apathy
In this context, “inappropriate” refers to a reaction that’s atypical and unexpected for those around you.
7. Odd behaviors
Everyone is unique. With that said, you may have noticed that your mannerisms, body language, and appearance are significantly distinct from most others. For example, you may dress in a way that your peers consider to be “eccentric.”
This may include:
- unusual hairstyles
- wearing bright colors that don’t match
- using combinations of bold patterns
8. Social isolation
This could be explained, in part, by finding it difficult to communicate with other people and differences in the way you express yourself.
9. Social anxiety
In social situations, you may have a vague sense that you’re somehow different from those around you, like an outsider looking in. For example, you may have a hard time forming close relationships at work or with peers at school. Just the thought of it might cause signs of anxiety.
You may also experience social anxiety symptoms even around those you are familar with, like family members or people you’ve known your whole life.
What does schizotypy mean?
Reality is not quite as simple as “sane” or “psychosis” — this or that, black or white.
In order to receive
Through a series of evaluations, they’ll determine if at least five of the nine symptoms are present in your case, particularly in a range of different scenarios.
This is because a personality disorder is considered a persistent pattern of behavior that spans multiple (or all) areas of your life, including:
If specific symptoms appear in some scenarios, but not others, a professional may say you have schizotypal traits instead of a personality disorder.
Unlike others in the cluster A camp, schizotypal personality disorder is categorized in the DSM-5 as both a personality disorder and a condition on the schizophrenia spectrum. Medical experts still have
While many symptoms do overlap, not all people diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder meet the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, or go on to develop schizophrenia later in life.
Schizotypal personality disorder has nine formal symptoms including social withdrawal, eccentric appearance, odd communication patterns, and distorted perceptions of the environment.
Symptoms can range in severity. But, in general, they’re evident across multiple areas of your life.
Treatment is available and effective in helping you manage some of the symptoms. Finding a therapist may be the first step. They’ll work with you in creating a plan customized to your specific needs.