Schizotypal Personality Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms


People experiencing paranoia believe that others are persecuting them and have delusional ideas about themselves as central figures in scenarios that in reality have little relevance to them. Minor feelings of paranoia are common, but severe paranoia can cause significant fear and anxiety and can have a pronounced effect on social functioning. Feelings of paranoia can be observed with many psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, as well as with a number of medical diseases, ranging from Alzheimer's disease to multiple sclerosis, that can affect brain function.

Schizotypal personality disorder facts

  • Schizotypal personality disorder is a personality disorder as well as a schizophrenia spectrum disorder that is characterized by a pattern of odd, eccentric feelings, behaviors, perceptions, and relating to others that markedly interferes with the person's ability to function.
  • Like most other mental disorders, schizotypal personality disorder is understood to be the result of a combination of biological predispositions, thought processes, and social problems.
  • There is no specific test, like an X-ray, that can correctly determine that someone has schizotypal personality disorder. To assess the presence of schizotypal personality disorder, health-care providers perform a mental-health evaluation that looks for the history and presence of the symptoms, also called diagnostic criteria. The presence of any medical problem that could be part of the symptoms will be explored.
  • Both psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral forms of psychotherapy have been found to be helpful for the sufferer in managing some of the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder.
  • Medications may be appropriate to alleviate some of the mental-health symptoms that can accompany this illness.
  • Without treatment, individuals with schizotypal personality disorder are at risk for having trouble with work and relationships.
  • Societal interventions like preventing child abuse and substance abuse in families can help decrease the occurrence of a number of very different mental-health problems, including schizotypal personality disorder.

What is schizotypal personality disorder?

Schizotypal personality disorder is a mental disorder that belongs to the group of mental illnesses called personality disorders. Therefore, like other personality disorders, it is characterized by a consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and interacting with others and with the world that tends to cause significant problems for the sufferer. Specifically, schizotypal personality disorder tends to be associated with a pattern of odd, eccentric feelings, perceptions, behaviors, and relating to other people that interferes with the individual's ability to function. Individuals with this illness have a tendency to be loners and suffer from discomfort in social situations. They may also be paranoid, although their level of suspiciousness might not rise to the level of being completely out of touch with reality (delusional). As with other personality disorders, the person with schizotypal personality disorder is usually an adolescent or adult before they can be assessed as meeting the full symptom criteria for the diagnosis of this illness.

Schizotypal personality disorder tends to occur in about 3% of adults, more often in males than in females. It is thought to be part of a continuum of illnesses related to schizophrenia, so it is dually grouped with other personality disorders and with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/1/2016

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