Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is a mental health condition marked by a consistent pattern of intense discomfort with relationships and social interactions. People with STPD have unusual thoughts, speech and behaviors, which usually hinder their ability to form and maintain relationships.
Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is a mental health condition marked by a consistent pattern of intense discomfort with close relationships and social interactions. If you have STPD, you may have distorted views of reality, superstitions and unusual behaviors. Your relationships are likely hindered by these symptoms.
Schizotypal personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called “Cluster A” personality disorders, which involve unusual and eccentric thinking or behaviors. Personality disorders are chronic (long-term) dysfunctional behavior patterns that are inflexible, prevalent and lead to social issues and distress.
People with schizotypal personality disorder typically display unusual behavior, odd speech and magical beliefs. You might not realize your behavior is unusual or problematic.
Some people with schizotypal personality disorder later develop schizophrenia.
Schizoid personality disorder (ScPD) is a mental health condition marked by a consistent pattern of detachment from and general disinterest in social relationships. This is distinct from schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) because people with STPD have an intense discomfort with personal relationships, not a lack of interest in them.
People with STPD also have peculiar thoughts and behaviors, like magical thinking, whereas people with ScPD generally don’t.
Many researchers consider schizotypal personality disorder to be one of the schizophrenia spectrum disorders, which also includes brief psychotic disorder, schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder and delusional disorder.
However, schizotypal personality disorder is distinct from schizophrenia because people with STPD don’t have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, which are hallmarks of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia negatively impacts someone’s day-to-day function much more than schizotypal personality disorder.
Most personality disorders, including schizotypal personality disorder (STPD), begin in the teen years when personality further develops and matures.
STPD affects people assigned male at birth slightly more than people assigned female at birth.
Schizotypal personality disorder is relatively rare. It affects approximately 3% to 5% of people in the United States.
People with schizotypal personality disorder experience intense discomfort and distress in social situations. You may have a lot of difficulties forming close relationships and maintaining them, partially due to a distorted interpretation of social interactions, as well as odd social behavior.
If you have schizotypal personality disorder, you may:
A person with STPD generally lacks awareness about how their thoughts and behaviors impact others.
Personality disorders, including schizotypal personality disorder, are among the least understood mental health conditions. Researchers are still trying to figure out the exact cause of them, but believe they develop due to several factors.
Researchers think the cause of schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is mainly biological and genetic because it shares many of the brain changes characteristic of schizophrenia. STPD is also more common among biological relatives of people with schizophrenia or Cluster A personality disorders, which suggests a genetic link.
Personality continues to evolve throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Because of this, healthcare providers don’t typically diagnose someone with schizotypal personality disorder until after the age of 18.
Personality disorders, including schizotypal personality disorder, can be difficult to diagnose since most people with a personality disorder don’t think there’s a problem with their behavior or way of thinking and don’t think they need to change their behavior.
When they do seek help, it’s often due to co-existing conditions, such as anxiety or depression, not the disorder itself. Rates of these two mental health conditions are particularly high among people with schizotypal personality disorder.
Because a person suspected of having schizotypal personality disorder may lack insight into their behaviors, mental health professionals often work with the person’s family and friends to collect more details about their behaviors and history.
Mental health providers base a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder on the criteria for the condition in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) and low-dose antipsychotic (neuroleptic) medication are the main treatment options for schizotypal personality disorder.
Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe low-dose antipsychotic (neuroleptic) medications for people with schizotypal personality disorder to treat the following symptoms:
Antipsychotic medications are particularly useful for people with moderately severe schizotypal symptoms and those experiencing mild, transient psychotic symptoms.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is a term for a variety of treatment techniques that aim to help people identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Working with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can provide support, education and guidance to the person and their loved ones.
Types of psychotherapy that may benefit people with schizotypal personality disorder include:
While schizotypal personality disorder generally can’t be prevented, treating this condition can help you learn ways to alter unhelpful behaviors and thoughts if you're prone to this condition.
Schizotypal personality disorder is a chronic condition that requires lifelong treatment.
If left untreated, the prognosis (outlook) for schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is generally poor. It’s very common for people with STPD to have other mental health conditions, including:
About 30% to 50% of people have major depressive disorder when they’re diagnosed with STPD.
It’s essential that people with STPD receive treatment for these conditions.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It’s important to remember that schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) is a mental health condition. As with all mental health conditions, seeking help as soon as symptoms appear can help decrease the disruptions in your life. Mental health professionals can offer treatment plans that can help manage thoughts and behaviors.
The family members of people with STPD also experience stress, depression and isolation. It’s important to take care of your mental health and seek help if you’re experiencing these symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/15/2022.
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