When a family member contracts a disease or physical condition, their loved ones adjust and try to make their afflicted family member feel safe and comfortable as they try to cope with their condition. When someone has a terminal illness, their family members visit them while they still have time. If a child breaks their leg, they’re provided meals on their bed to reduce the need for them to walk. And if your wife is pregnant, it’s common courtesy to attend to her needs while she braves out her pregnancy and all its symptoms.
Mental health has, for the most part, been overlooked as a real health condition for quite some time. Depressed people are told to get over their feelings of sadness as there are others who have it worse. People with Bipolar Disorder are labeled as drama queens, while those with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome are still living in the past. Luckily, awareness on mental health has recently improved, and plenty of people are becoming more accepting and accommodating for family members afflicted with mental health conditions.
Today, we discuss about handling family members with schizoid personality disorder. One of the less popular mental health conditions, it affects around five percent of the population. However, like mental conditions such as depression and anxiety, this may not be an accurate number as people can live their whole lives without ever being officially diagnosed with it. Instead, they find their own ways to cope – some of which may be detrimental to their health.
Understanding Schizoid Personality Disorder
In psychological terms, your personality refers to the way you think, feel, behave, and react to the people around you. If faced with a problem, for example, whether you choose to cry and hide, logically find a solution, or become angry that the problem exists in the first place says a lot about your personality. Psychologists who study mental health and behavior find that your personality may be affected by both your genes, your environment, and the way you were raised.
So, when diagnosed with a personality disorder, this means that you deviate from the normal personality. It’s OK to be different, but if you differ in such a way that it affects the way you operate or see the world as most people do for quite a long time, then it may be a personality disorder.
Schizoid personality disorder is no exception. A person diagnosed with these exhibits a limited range of emotional expression and experience and are wholly indifferent when it comes to developing social relationships. These people can go to school, get a job, and have skills to pay the bills and can work well with others to get the job done, but when it comes to meaningful relationships outside of school or work, they’re unable to develop ties with anyone.
Schizophrenia vs. Schizoid Personality Disorder
Don’t get confused between the two. Some medical researchers believe that schizoid personality disorder may be the start of schizophrenia or a mild form of it. Others believe it is a condition on its own. Schizophrenics may be unable to distinguish reality from imagination and see or hear things that aren’t really there. Thus, some may be unable to operate or live on their own.
A person with schizoid, on the other hand, are aware of what is real even if they are prone to daydreaming. They avoid social activities and social interaction that isn’t necessary to them. They are capable of working in a group if necessary, but they also do well in solitary tasks. They also are less likely to make sense when they speak, but they’re less likely to strike a conversation.
Loners Don’t Necessarily Have Schizoid Personality Disorder
If you’re introverted, a bit shy at meeting new people, or prefer to work alone than with a group, that’s not an automatic sign that you or someone you know who is like this has schizoid personality disorder. Introverts and shy people are still capable of having meaningful relationships with people and can have one or two friends they genuinely care about. And people who prefer to work alone still develop meaningful relationships.
However, if you can’t name any friend, have no romantic feelings for anyone, and have no emotional attachment to your family, you may have schizoid personality disorder if this seems to apply to you yet you show no care about it.
Symptoms of Schizoid Personality Disorder
A person with schizoid personality disorder do not have close relationships, nor are they interested in building one. This even includes their family members, making them detached or aloof in any social gathering or group activities they can survive without such as parties, family reunions, or even just a simple dinner at home.
In fact, they may actively avoid social activities if it means having contact with plenty of people. When you attend a party, you know that you’re there to have fun and socialize with a lot of people or even just a few people you know. A person with schizoid personality disorder, because they don’t build relationships, will find this to be a boring activity because they’re not interested in talking to anyone unless necessary. Which is why they tend to avoid gatherings like these.
Because they prefer to be alone, they usually opt for more solo activities. They are barely or not interested in sexual experiences as they have no need to feel intimate with other people. At work, they’ll get the job done, but they won’t be affected by praise or criticism the way other people are.
Causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder
While some mental disorders and certain cases can trace back its cause, no one can really trace the cause of schizoid personality disorder. It may be influenced by genetics and a person’s environment from childhood development. It’s possible that if a child isn’t subjected to a wide range of emotions and given little attention, it could contribute to their ability to process emotions. Having schizoid personality disorder may also lead to other disorders.
Diagnosing and Treatment
Psychologists and psychiatrists may evaluate patients for schizoid personality disorder. However, only psychiatrists may be allowed to prescribe medicine. While there is no medicine or cure for schizoid personality disorder, some psychiatrists may prescribe anti-anxiety medicine that some patients experience.
Treatment for schizoid personality disorder is arguably harder than other mental conditions. Depressed people who seek psychiatric help want to get better, while those with PTSD want to overcome the trauma of their past. However, people with schizoid personality disorder don’t experience loneliness or the need to form social bonds, so they rarely seek out treatment for themselves. A parent may take their child to a psychiatrist to seek treatment if they suspect their child has this, but adults with this condition aren’t going to actively seek out help.
Talk therapy may not be effective for patients with schizoid personality disorder since they aren’t social talkers and won’t be able to relate to others, even their own therapist. Individual therapy may only get them to remove immediate conditions, but it may not totally get them to socialize with others. Group therapy, however, seems to be the best treatment because of the comfort they may feel when socializing with a group who share the same condition.
Effects of Schizoid Personality Disorder
While those with schizoid personality disorder are capable of doing their job and living their lives without forming relationships, the lack of relationships may have social consequences. Their lack of family ties may cause trouble, especially in a family that have very extroverted members who are close with one another and trying to reach out to the affected individual.
People with schizoid personality disorder can do their job, but it’s hard to deny that there is a certain need for social ties within the workplace. And while they can be a team player when it comes to a task, being unable to socialize with your co-workers may make you an unwanted member of the team.
Having schizoid personality disorders may further lead to several complications. Some cases had developed schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and other personality and mental disorders.
Having Family Members with Schizoid Personality Disorder
For people with schizoid personality disorder, close relationships are option. However, as a family member of a person or people with this condition, your familial relationship with them exists. It can be a struggle to live under the same roof as someone who treats you like you are only necessary as much as you can help them survive, but you need to understand that, under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t be treating you like this if it weren’t for their disorder.
It can be hurtful and feel like a cold home, but encouraging them to seek treatment is the first step you can take to helping them get better. They won’t actively want to seek treatment, so getting them to see someone who can diagnose them can be very helpful.
Learn to be patient. We’ve provided you with a thorough background on the personality disorder because it’s necessary to understand it in order to truly understand what your family member feels and why. It’s nothing personal: it’s simply because of the way their personality developed. Understand that they won’t show love and affection, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need you, and for someone with that condition, it’s the best they can give to you in terms of social expectations.
It may not be the close relationship you want between parent and child or between siblings, but understanding schizoid personality disorder and the effects it has on your family member may help you understand your relationship better and how you can help them cope.