In society there are all kinds of people and, therefore, personality is something that occurs in a very variable way , presenting all kinds of traits with greater or lesser intensity in the population.
However, there are some people whose personality stands out above what is considered normal and, even, involves some kind of harm, bordering on or fully entering psychopathology .
There are several personality disorders , being divided into three clusters: A, B and C. In this article we are going to differentiate two of those found in cluster A, which are schizoid disorder and schizotypal personality disorder. .
Due to their name, it is easy to confuse them, in addition to assuming that they have some relationship with schizophrenia .
Although in the two disorders those who suffer from it are characterized by not being very socially adapted, in addition to calling attention to themselves above the rest, the truth is that they have several fundamental differences . Let’s see what they are.
Schizoid disorder and schizotypal disorder what are they?
The schizoid disorder and schizotypal are two disorders included within the group of personality disorders. These two disorders are included in cluster A of personality disorders, along with paranoid disorder , characterized by presenting a strange and eccentric pattern of thought and behavior.
Schizoid and schizotypal disorders are characterized by a progressive social detachment , in addition to presenting problems when establishing and maintaining relationships with other people. They also share the fact of presenting an enormous lack of interaction with others, although it should be noted that both disorders manifest them in the form of differentiated symptoms.
In both disorders, the person presents an appearance that stands out above the others, especially this being the case of schizotypal people, who tend to dress more strikingly.
Differences between these two personality disorders
We will now learn how schizoid disorder and schizotypal disorder differ.
In schizoid personality disorder, the person has little interest in establishing social and sexual relationships with other individuals.
These types of people prefer solitude over the company of others . Because of this, they tend not to have many friends, being the only people with whom close family members interact.
This can also be observed by the fact that schizoid people often work in jobs that do not require much human interaction, such as computer scientists, programmers, mathematicians, among others.
On the other hand, people who suffer from schizotypal personality disorder, the reason why they do not have a correct social relationship is not that they do not want to have friends, but that they are afraid of interacting with others.
They are people who are very susceptible to possible criticism from others, causing them to spiral into suspicion that others do not love them, which generates fear and a high level of anxiety.
Related to the previous point, schizoid people are indifferent to the opinion of others and their criticism, even if they are positive .
Because of this, they are not prone to paranoia, since, as they do not care what others say or do, they simply see it as not going with them nor should they worry.
Instead, schizotypal people may think that others are talking about them.
Paranoia and suspicions that others do not stop criticizing it, or that the world thinks bad things about it, cause them to suffer, as we have already mentioned in the previous point, high levels of social anxiety.
3. Search for help
Having seen the first two differences, it is easy to understand why schizotypal people choose to go to therapy more voluntarily than those with schizotypal personality disorder .
Desiring to have healthy social relationships but not being able to establish or maintain them over time makes people with schizotypal personality disorder feel terribly bad, and may develop depressive symptoms .
Social anxiety is experienced in a way that can even be paralyzing, with its very noticeable impact on the patient’s daily life.
These two points make the person realize, sooner or later, that they need help, or at least that their closest environment is aware that a visit to a professional consultation is necessary.
In contrast, schizoid people, not wanting to have more social relationships than they have already established or those that are strictly necessary, do not see their personality type as something that poses some kind of problem.
They do not take the first steps to improve the quality of their relationships with other people, being the family environment who normally decides to make this decision, forcing them to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
4. Fantasy and magic thought
In both disorders there is a tendency to take refuge in a world in your mind . Both schizoid and schizotypal use the imagination as a mechanism to escape reality, and go to a place that they control and that is safe for them.
The difference lies in the fact that the patient knows that this world is not real. Schizoid people, despite using fantasy to escape reality, are aware that the world in their mind is not real.
This, however, does not have to be so clear to a schizotypal person. They may even hear voices and be convinced that they are real.
They also tend to have magical beliefs, such as that they can have psychic powers and believe in superstitions.
5. Relationship with schizophrenia
Although schizophrenia and schizoid and schizotypal disorders are etymologically related, starting with the Greek particle ‘skhizo’ (‘split into, divide’), it could be said that this is what little they share.
The three disorders involve different symptoms , with schizophrenia being a serious mental health disorder, while schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders involve differentiated behavioral and thinking patterns between them.
However, these two personality disorders differ in relation to schizophrenia. Specifically, schizotypal personality disorder has certain symptoms that are related to severe mental disorder, especially in relation to its psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delirium, and paranoia.
While fantastic ideas, magical thinking, and paranoia are considered milder in schizotypal disorder than in schizophrenia, they are related.
In fact, there is a real risk that a person with schizotypal personality disorder will end up getting worse and developing full schizophrenia.
Some experts have even defended the idea that schizotypal personality disorder could be considered as a milder type of schizophrenia.