Paranoid+Schizotypal Personality Disorders
What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?
Paranoid personality disorder is a mental illness in which a person experiences high levels of suspicion and mistrust of others without justification. They often misread social cues and believe that others cannot be trusted, are out to get them, or that people are trying to harm them in some way, interpreting that others wish to harm. They tend to be hypervigilant, always scanning the environment for threat, and often have difficulty in relationships because of the degree of mistrust and suspicion.
Other symptoms include:
- Hesitancy to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use information against them
- Doubts the loyalty and commitment of others
- Unable to receive constructive feedback without becoming defensive, agitated, and hostile
- Will interpret casual remarks or nonverbal cues as having hidden meanings
- Perceives innocent remarks or nonthreatening situations as personal insults or attacks
- Tendency to hold grudges, difficulty with forgiveness
- Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful
What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?
Schizoid personality disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a flat or limited range of emotion, detachment, and a preference for a solitary lifestyle. While the term schizoid is often confused with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder, someone with schizoid personality disorder is in touch with reality, is unlikely to have hallucinations or delusions, and does not have difficulty communicating in clear and concise ways.
Additional symptoms include:
- Preference for being alone
- Disinterest in building close or intimate relationships
- Little to no desire for sexual relationships
- Lacks interest and pleasure in most activities
- Difficulty expressing and feeling emotions
- May seem humourless, indifferent or emotionally cold to others
- Difficulty noticing social cues
- Little or no reaction to praise or critical remarks from others
Research on schizoid personality disorder is lacking because those suffering with this illness rarely seek treatment or attend clinical trials. There is evidence that individuals with this disorder have a poor quality of life, are often bullied for being different, are isolated, and have difficulty at work and navigating family and other relationships.
What is Schizotypal Personality Disorder?
Schizotypal personality disorder belongs to a class of illness defined by odd or eccentric behaviours. Individuals with this illness tend to have unusual ways of dressing, speaking, and thinking. They tend to have peculiar beliefs about themselves, others, or the world and often express magical thinking, or the idea that they can influence people and experiences with their thoughts. They tend to have few friends and feel very uncomfortable in social situations.
Additional symptoms include:
- Magical or superstitious beliefs, belief in having psychic abilities
- Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing a voice whisper your name
- Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
- Social anxiety that is related to paranoid thinking, not negative self-evaluation
- Discomfort with close relationships
- Suspicion and paranoia
- Belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden personal messages
Given the overlap between Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Schizophrenia, it is important that a proper psychological assessment is conducted by a qualified professional.