Schizotypal personality disorder diagnosis can be difficult because many symptoms overlap with symptoms of schizophrenia. However, the major difference between schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia is that in schizophrenia, psychotic behavior is frequent and intense because a person suffering from schizophrenia loses touch with reality.
A person suffering from schizotypal personality disorder does not display frequent psychotic behavior and eccentric behavior is not as intense. A schizotypal person does not lose touch with reality. People suffering from this kind of personality disorder realize the difference between reality and imaginary perceptions.
The top five symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder that aid in diagnosis are:
- Paranoid beliefs: Paranoid tendencies constitute one of the most common schizotypal personality disorder symptoms. The person experiences unusual bodily perceptions or mental illusions. Sometimes they have stereotypical thinking, and at other times, unrealistic beliefs. The person exhibits odd speech or incoherent rambling. They show strong beliefs in subcultural norms such as superstition, telepathy, a sixth sense, or clairvoyance. Young people suffering from schizotypal personality disorder symptoms are preoccupied with bizarre fantasies.
- Suspicion: Suspiciousness is among the most evident schizotypal personality disorder symptoms. The person expresses paranoid ideas, loose or vague speech, is suspicious of friends and relatives, and even more so of strangers, exhibits social withdrawal due to suspicion of people, and has a tendency to lose track of reality when paranoia is mixed with suspicion.
- Social withdrawal: The person exhibits poor rapport with friends or relatives. Along with a tendency for social withdrawal, the individual is cold to people or aloof during social activities, and may have illogical beliefs such as a belief in magic and magical influence in day to day activities. These patients may fear people with whom they live or interact, have paranoid beliefs, and are inconsistent in social activities. The patient does not lose this fear in spite of increased familiarity with people. This symptom of schizotypal personality disorder often occurs in combination with paranoia and eccentric behavior, especially with strangers.
- Social isolation: A person with schizotypal personality disorder may display odd or peculiar behavior. These people are preoccupied with magical thinking and isolate themselves from society. Their suspicion and social anxiety leads them deeper into their shell. They are sometimes eccentric, display no emotions, or sometimes display inappropriate emotions to certain events. They are aloof; in spite of being present, they do not participate, and have few friends.
- Aggression: A person with schizotypal personality disorder sometimes resorts to aggression due to their social discomfort. The patient finds it difficult to interact and respond in a normal fashion. Reduced capacity for social interaction makes the schizotypal personality disorder patient eccentric and aggressive. The patient may display an inability to control emotions, especially in the realm of sexual expression and agression.
All of these symptoms can only be confirmed through an accurate psychological examination and diagnosis by a trained psychiatrist.
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