Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Personality is understood as a role model and relatively stable thinking throughout the lifecycle across time and situations that provides us with patterns of behavioral preference and influences the way we understand and act in the world and within ourselves.

However, sometimes the personality that is forged throughout development is not structured in an adaptive and functional way in relation to the environment in which one lives, which makes it difficult to limit one’s own action and reduce the possibilities of the child. subject in addition to producing frustration. and suffering.

For example, it can hinder the ability to build intimate relationships, tailor behavior to context, or present imaginative ways of thinking and acting away from reality. This is what happens in schizotypal personality disorder.

    Schizotypal personality disorder

    Schizotypal personality disorder is understood as the set of relatively consistent patterns of behavior and thought throughout the subject’s life and through situations in which the individual suffering from it exhibits a pattern of interpersonal impairments that make it difficult. The presence of close personal relationships while maintaining considerable behavior as eccentric and in which various cognitive alterations occur.

    Schizotypal personality disorder is classified as a serious personality disorder, Which would fall under group A. This is a serious difficulty for those who suffer, as it makes it difficult to maintain social relationships and can cause a feeling of helplessness and emptiness. It can also be difficult to focus on specific goals and exhibit episodes of unrealization and depersonalization. There is a limited and decontextualized affectivity, and sometimes anhedonia.

    People with schizotypal personality they tend to have beliefs and ideas that are considered fanciful or strange. Paranoid and self-referential beliefs stand out, although they usually don’t reach the level of delusional. They also often have magical and superstitious beliefs and thoughts. It is not uncommon for them to experience perceptual alterations, such as illusions and images. Their behavior may not be adapted to the social context or the situations they are going through.

      Their social skills

      Social skills of people with schizotypal personality disorder are limited, he said extravagant behavior and a high level of social anxiety which remains even if there is frequent and familiar contact. Much of this is produced by paranoid ideas that make them very suspicious of the behavior of others.

      In addition, these people they are cold and distant and tend to isolate themselves. However, although not in all cases, their isolation is due more to anxiety and mistrust than to a lack of social concern.

      His language also has peculiaritiesBecause despite maintaining logic and consistency, they tend to use striking terms and have a tangential speech that doesn’t go directly to the issue they want to raise. The use of metaphors and circumlocutions is common.

      Causes of the disorder

      As a personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder is a widely learned and learned pattern of thought and behavior throughout life, although there is a genetic predisposition to manifest certain characteristics. However, it should be borne in mind that depending on the context, this predisposition may not be expressed, so the environment is of great importance in its appearance.

      Studies on the biological elements that may explain this disorder seem to indicate that schizotypal personality disorder it is more common in parents of schizophrenic patients, Which suggests that it is possible that genetic and / or educational aspects lead to this personality type. The presence of elements similar to schizophrenia have also been reported, such as the presence of difficulties in monitoring eye movements or the presence of low concentrations of platelet monoamine oxidase.

      The ascending reticular system and the limbic system are parts of the brain that have been attempted to relate to the etiology of this disorder. We also talk about the presence of hypersensitivity to humiliation or disapproval by their peers and / or benchmarks during development as elements that can trigger this disorder with low stimulation.


        The treatment of a personality disorder is particularly complex because it is about changing the way a person sees the world, thinks and acts. Personality is a set of traits that tend to remain more or less stable throughout life, which makes it difficult to change.

        However, there are methods that can serve this purpose. Regarding schizotypal personality disorder the type of treatment usually applied is cognitive-behavioral, Although psychodynamic therapy has also been used successfully.

        First of all, it should be noted that individuals with these type of characteristics tend to be very suspicious and subject to paranoid thinkingIt is therefore essential to establish a very good therapeutic relationship based on trust and respect in order to reduce suspicion and possible conflicts in order to be able to work effectively on the situation.

        Regarding the presence of cognitive distortions, the treatment in question consists of offering the patient the performance of behavioral experiments that prove or falsify his beliefs, so that he can evaluate his thoughts.

        Aspects such as suspicion or magical thinking can be greatly reduced, and direct confrontation of beliefs is not effective. He should also be made to reflect on his way of thinking and acting and the harm they cause him. Thus, it is common to use techniques such as cognitive restructuring.

        Intervention on personal relationships

        Another crucial aspect is social skills training in order to alleviate their interpersonal difficulties. The use of group therapy is recommended and techniques such as psychodrama and modeling of social behavior can be very useful in improving aspects such as adapting behavior to context and developing communication.

        In addition, this allows the existence of experience feedback on the behavior of each subject by the other participants. It is also useful to contribute to the improvement of their language and their expressiveness, by proposing the use of summaries in case of circumstance.

        Bibliographical references:

        • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
        • Millon, T. (1999). Personality disorders: beyond DSM IV. Masson: Barcelona.
        • Olivencia, JJ and Cangas, AJ (2005). Psychological treatment of schizotypal personality disorder. A case study. Psicotheme, 17 (3). 412-417.
        • Quiroga, E. and Errasti, J. (2001). Effective psychological treatments for personality disorders. Psicothema, vol. 13, n ° 3, p. 393-406. University of Almeria and University of Oviedo.
        • Sants, JL; Garcia, LI; Calderon, MA; Sanz, LJ; of rivers, P .; Left, S .; Román, P .; Hernangómez, L .; Navas, E .; Lladre, A and Álvarez-Cienfuegos, L. (2012). Clinical Psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 02. CEDE. Madrid.

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