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Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms

(Also Known As: Schizotypal Symptoms, Schizotypal Personality Symptoms, Mood Disorder Symptoms, Paranoid Symptoms, Social Anxiety Symptoms, Delusions Of Reference Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What are the symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

As have been mentioned earlier, people with schizotypal personality disorder may be severely disturbed and their odd behavior may resemble that of people with schizophrenia. These disturbances in personality are manifested as unusual preoccupations and fears, such as fears of being monitored by government agencies. Additionally, they possess unusual beliefs such as existence of aliens or supernatural powers. They strongly latch on to these beliefs causing them to be isolated from normal relationships.

Common signs of schizotypal personality disorder include the following “Ideas of Reference”:

  • Incorrect interpretations of events - Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often incorrectly perceive the cause and effect of situations and how they affect others. For example, they may misinterpret a simple frown as someone being displeased with them, where in reality it means nothing of that interpretation or it doesn’t pertain to them at all. Often, their perceptions are distortions of what is really happening, and other people may attempt to explain things to them, however they will still strongly think it nonetheless.
  • Odd beliefs or magical thinking – often, they may be superstitious or preoccupied with the paranormal. Due to the social isolation these individuals experience, they tend to lean towards these behaviors as a desperate means to find some emotional connection with the world they live in.
  • Unusual perceptual experiences - illusions or attributing a particular event to some mysterious force or person who is not present are the usual manifestation of this behavior. Patients may also feel they possess special abilities to influence things or predict an event before it happens.
  • Odd thinking and speech - strange structure and phrasing of speech patterns, loosely associated ideas and thoughts that are prone to tangents, or vague in description. For example, when they are asked questions about a certain topic, they may respond in an overly concrete or abstract manner or add words that serve to confuse rather than clarify a particular situation, yet the whole train of thought makes complete sense to them. They are typically unable to have ongoing conversation and tend to talk only about matters that need immediate attention.
  • Suspicious or paranoid thoughts –often highly suspicious of others and display paranoid tendencies.
  • Emotionally inexpressive - appear aloof and isolated, possess an intense fear of being humiliated or rejected, yet repress most of these feelings for protective reasons.
  • Eccentric behavior - often viewed as odd or eccentric due to their unusual mannerisms or untidy personal appearance and unconventional clothing choices—clothing choices that do not fit together, clothes may be too small or large, or clothes may be noticeably unclean.
  • Lack of close friends - lack the skills and confidence to develop meaningful interpersonal relationships, they prefer privacy and isolation. Withdrawing from relationships causes them to increasingly turn inward, and avoid possible social rejection or ridicule. Their social contact remains confined to immediate family members.
  • Socially anxious - noticeably anxious in social situations, especially with those they are not familiar with. They can interact with people when necessary, but prefer to avoid as much interaction as possible because their self-perception is that they do not fit in. Even when exposed to the same group of people over time, their social anxiety does not seem to lessen. In fact, it may progress into distorted perceptions of paranoia involving the people with whom they are in social contact. 6

The symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder may begin to manifest during the child or adolescence stage. These indications include a tendency toward solitary pursuit of activities, poor peer relationships, pronounced social anxiety, and underachievement in school. Other symptoms that may be present during the developmental years are hypersensitivity to criticism or correction, unusual use of language, odd thoughts, or bizarre fantasies. Children with these tendencies appear distant and other kids often keep away from them. Due to their eccentric impression, they become the object of malicious teasing by their peers, which as a result, increases the feelings of isolation and social ineptness they feel.7

Could You Have Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

Schizotypal Personality Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Bipolar Disorder – Manic Depression, Mood Disorder, Mania, Depression, Hypomania
Borderline Personality Disorder – Changes in Mood, Unstable Social Relationships, Distorted Self Image, Dissociation
Schizoid Personality Disorder – Disinterested with Social Function, Secretiveness, Emotional Coldness