Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

schizoid personality disorder

It is important to understand that schizoid personality disorder is not schizophrenia. A person with a schizoid personality disorder does not detach from reality. But they do detach from social relationships. Treatment for schizoid personality disorder is crucial to relieve the symptoms of this disorder. 

What is Schizoid Personality Disorder?

Schizoid personality disorder (SPD) is an uncommon mental disorder. A person with SPD avoids social activities and interacting with others. They also do not show emotion. Because of the lack of emotional expression, a person often sounds monotone. So it seems like they don’t care.

People with SPD show no interest in social or intimate relationships. But, they do like to bond with animals. Those with SPD are the typical “loner,” avoiding social activities and staying away from others. 

The lack of social interaction means most people with SPD lack social skills. If someone with SPD has any interaction with others, it is typically for work or family pressure. So they usually choose careers that allow them to work alone. 

A person with SPD can be expressionless. In addition to having a lack of emotional expression, those with SPD may have a hard time expressing anger. Even in the middle of a fight, they may be calm and collected. But the outside emotion does not match the inside feeling. People with SPD still feel emotions even though they do not let it show. 

Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder

Children may start showing signs of SPD, but the disorder does not fully appear until the late teens and early twenties. Personality disorders like schizoid personality disorder affect the pattern of behavior. Behavior patterns of children and teens change and mature as they age. 

The symptoms of schizoid personality disorder have two main areas: emotional coolness and the lack of interest in people and activities. The symptoms include:

  • Lack of interest in relationships
  • No interest in fun activities
  • No desire for intimate relationships
  • Has little or no reaction to praise or criticism
  • Detached, emotionless
  • Prefers being alone
  • Appears to lack motivation

Schizoid personality disorder appears more in men than in women. Approximately 3.1 to 4.9 of the general public have SPD. The intensity of SPD will decrease with age. The most extreme symptoms will fade by the time a person is in their 50’s. 

The Cause of Schizoid Personality Disorder

No one knows what causes SPD, but there are theories. A person who has a family history of SPD is at a higher risk of developing the disorder. A variety of factors shapes personality. Factors include parenting, education, social interactions, and childhood experiences. 

Diagnosing of Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder needs to be diagnosed by professionals with specific training like psychiatrists and psychologists. Medical professionals, like general doctors and internists, are not trained to diagnose SPD. But it is essential to see a family doctor when SPD is suspected. A family doctor can refer individuals to the proper mental health professional for a diagnosis.

People do not often seek treatment for schizoid personality disorder. The disorder has to have a significant negative effect on their life for them to seek treatment. The symptoms can become overwhelming when the stress of life or an event pushes them over the edge. Sometimes a person may not know they have SPD until they seek treatment for another issue like depression. 

Is Schizoid Personality Disorder The Same As Schizophrenia?

As mentioned above, a schizoid personality disorder is not schizophrenia. Even though the disorders share some of the same symptoms, there are apparent differences. The most significant difference is that people with SPD do not have hallucinations or paranoia. 

Schizoid Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder (SUD) is not a specific risk of SPD. The main risk of SPD is the development of other mental health disorders. A person with a schizoid personality disorder can develop schizophrenia and depression, but not many people have a SUD.

Anxiety and depression, however, can lead to using drugs or alcohol. The use of substances acts as a substitute for social interactions. While many people develop bonds with animals, others create a relationship with SUD. The use of drugs and alcohol increases the withdrawal from social interactions. People with a substance use disorder further complicate treatment for schizoid personality disorder. 

Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder

Because of the nature of this disorder, people with SPD avoid seeking treatment. Seeking treatment means interacting with other people. And with individual therapy as the primary treatment for schizoid personality disorder, it is more than casual interaction. A person in treatment for schizoid personality disorder will have to interact on a deep, honest, and emotional level. 

Treatment for schizoid personality disorder requires building a bond with a therapist. Building this bond can be challenging. Because those with SPD are “loners,” it can be hard to foster trust, so in the beginning, the focus will be trust and security.

Group therapy can be a very beneficial treatment for schizoid personality disorder. People realize they are not alone. But, group therapy can be overwhelming with all the social interactions. 

A National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that almost 8 million Americans suffer a mental health disorder and SUD. Simultaneous treatment for schizoid personality disorder and SUD is vital. Treating one disease and not the other hinders recovery and can cause a person to leave treatment. 

Living with Schizoid Personality DIsorder

Individuals living with SPD will not notice anything wrong with themselves. They believe their behaviors are rational, so hence no problem. But if others have told a person, they are stand-offish or should talk more and suffer other symptoms of SPD; they should seek professional help. 

How to Help a Loved One with Schizoid Personality Disorder

Convincing a person with SPD to seek treatment isn’t easy. But, there are a few things a person can do to support them.

  • Avoid judgment. It is vital to listen when people talk. It is not easy for them to do so. Try to understand and empathize with them.
  • Get educated. Learn everything you can about SPD.
  • Be patient. Treatment is difficult, so remember three steps forward one step back. 
  • Encourage them. Even though it may not show on the outside, they feel all the emotions on the inside. Encouragement leads to progress and a better life. 

When caring for a person with SPD, it can be natural to interact with them like any other person. However, this kind of interaction can be too much. A person with SPD may start to interact with others if it is a non-emotional type activity and only a few people. Starting small and slow helps build confidence and social skills. 

Treatment for Schizoid Personality Disorder at Sana Lake

Are you tired of missing out on life? Then get started on the road to a better life! Our caring team of trained professionals is waiting to answer your questions about the treatment of schizoid personality disorder. So, Contact us today!

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizoid-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354414

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/personality-disorders/schizoid-personality-disorder-scpd

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.