Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Addiction

schizotypal personality disorder

People with schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) are described as odd or unusual. They also don’t have close relationships. It’s because they confuse other’s motives and actions. Unfortunately, the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder also lead to a co-occurring substance use disorder

Symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder cause people to be mistrusting. So, it’s hard to form relationships. Above all, they don’t understand how to start a relationship. Generally, they don’t see the impact of their behavior on others. 

But, treatment for STPD helps people regain control of life. Even though it’s not curable, people can live a recovery life with lifelong treatment. Treatment for symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder includes medications, traditional and alternative therapies. 

Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

STPD requires five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Being a loner or lacking close friends
  • Inappropriate emotional responses or no emotions
  • Extreme social anxiety
  • Unjustified description of events
  • Unusual beliefs and quirks
  • Suspicions and paranoia of others
  • Believes they have special powers such as telepathy
  • Distorted thinking
  • No pride in their appearance/wearing eccentric clothing
  • Unusual and rambling speech

The schizotypal personality disorder symptoms, such as anxiety and isolation, may appear in the teen years. However, the signs in teens are underperforming in school and being bullied. 

Schizotypal Personality Disorder vs. Schizophrenia

STPD is often confused for schizophrenia. But, schizophrenia causes a person to lose touch with reality or psychosis. While a person with STPD has brief psychotic episodes, they are less often and intense as schizophrenia. 

The main difference surrounds hallucinations and delusions, the main symptoms of schizophrenia. While both disorders include distorted thoughts and beliefs, STPD doesn’t cause hallucinations and delusions. 

Causes of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

A person’s personality is a mixture of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s what makes a person different. Personalities are also defined by how a person views, understands and relates to the world. While shaped by environmental factors and inherent tendencies, personalities develop in childhood. 

Children typically learn regular interaction, understanding, and responses in social situations. So what goes wrong? The cause of STPD isn’t known. However, factors such as brain function changes, genetics, environmental, and learned behaviors may be responsible. 

Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Addiction

People with STPD often have co-occurring mental disorders. This includes anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders. Unfortunately, the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder often lead to addiction.

Two-thirds of people with STPD use drugs and alcohol to cope with symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder. Research from the NIH shows most people misuse alcohol. Because STPD produces feelings of distrust, many people use substances alone and not with others.

In addition to the risks that addiction and STPD share, they make each other worse. Regular use of drugs and alcohol leads to more intense symptoms. It also leads to problems in treatment if they even seek treatment. 

Because symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder cause distorted thoughts, many individuals either don’t believe there’s a problem, or they don’t receive proper treatment. For example, a person might receive treatment for anxiety or depression but not their odd behaviors and addiction. This shows the importance of appropriate diagnosis and thorough treatment plans. 

Treating Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Treating schizotypal personality disorder and addiction can be complicated for many reasons. First of all, many people with STPD rarely seek treatment on their own. So an intervention may be necessary. Simultaneously, some people only seek treatment for schizotypal personality disorder symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. 

But, many traditional and alternative therapies treat STPD. There isn’t a cure, but treatment manages symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder. Depending on the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder and co-occurring disorders, treatment plans may include pharmacotherapy, talk, behavioral, and holistic therapies. 

Pharmacotherapy for Managing Symptoms of Schizotypal Personality Disorder 

Medications such as benzos may help with anxiety. But, they are commonly misused. Also, those with STPDr typically don’t follow the rules. So, benzos must be used cautiously. At the same time, medications may include SSRIs for anxiety and depression and other drugs.

Treatment to Manage Symptoms of Schizotypical Personality Disorder and Addiction 

When STPD is co-occurring with addiction, treatment is crucial. The first step is detox. Drugs and alcohol cause severe withdrawal symptoms. As a result, medically supervised detox is the safest and way to detox. 

Once detox is complete, members enter inpatient or outpatient treatment. Comprehensive treatment programs include individual, group, and family therapy. They also provide health education, skill-building, and ongoing community support. 

Therapy for schizotypal personality disorder and addiction should be slow and steady. The first hurdle in treatment is forming a relationship of trust and safety. Once trust is built, therapies will examine the person’s belief system. 

Psychotherapies include:

  • Individual therapy is the foundation of mental health and addiction treatment. It provides a solid foundation for members. It also helps identify and heal the issues around addiction and STPD.
  • Group therapy involves getting support from others who struggle with substance use and mental disorders. It can help members learn from others, share their struggles, and offer support to those with the same struggles. For those living with STPD, group therapy provides a safe place to practice practical communication skills and interact with others better.
  • Social skills group sessions focus only on communication and proper social interactions. These sessions are incredibly useful for members with STPD and addiction.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches members how to identify behavior and thought patterns that lead to the symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder. Additionally, it helps create new and positive beliefs and thought patterns. 
  • Holistic treatment helps reduce stress. It does so through yoga, meditation, and massage. Additionally, holistic therapies improve physical and mental wellness through nutritional education and other holistic treatment options. 

Importance of Chronic Lifelong Treatment of Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Addiction

An essential factor in maintaining recovery from addiction and STPD is lifelong community support groups. Involvement in these groups is free. They also have meetings multiple times a day every day.  

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are 12-step groups. They are designed to help those in recovery from addiction and mental health disorders. Even in recovery, symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder and addiction can lead to loneliness and lead to substance use recurrence. But, involvement in these groups encourages recovery and social interactions.

Help is Waiting at Sana Lake Recovery Center

Struggling with schizotypal personality disorder and addiction can be lonely and overwhelming. But, you or a loved one doesn’t have to fight the fight alone. Our certified professionals are dedicated to helping all members find peace and healing at Sana Lake Recovery Center. What are you waiting for? Contact us today and start living a life in recovery.  

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2707116/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizotypal-personality-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353924

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/schizotypal-personality-disorder-a-to-z

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.