Schizotypal personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia. While the two conditions share certain traits, such as the individual suffering from strange, distorted ideas about reality, having episodes of paranoia, and being socially isolated, there are differences.
One key difference is that people with schizotypal personality disorder can become aware of the distortion of their thoughts and can understand that they are not seeing things clearly, whereas people with schizophrenia rarely have the ability to do this.
People with schizotypal personality disorder may be completely out of sync with others. They may have strange behaviors, dress oddly, consider themselves to be aliens or outsiders and have an extreme level of anxiety that does not decrease over time. They may have co-existing mental health conditions such as paranoid personality disorder or major depression.
As with any personality disorder, a person must be 18 years of age or older in order to be properly diagnosed. Many people find symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder decrease in intensity past the age of 40, which is also common with personality disorders.
Many people experience relief through either talk therapy or medication or a combination of both. While schizotypal personality disorder is often chronic and lifelong, each person and each case is unique. Some people also benefit from social groups and socialization therapy.
Some of the warning signs of schizotypal personality disorder include:
• Experiencing discomfort in social situations
• Perceptibly inappropriate displays of feelings
• Difficulty maintaining or creating friendships resulting in having no close friends
• Demonstrating odd behavior or appearance
• Experiencing odd beliefs, fantasies, or preoccupations
• Having odd speech
Other symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder include:
• Incorrect interpretation of events, including feeling that external events have personal meaning
• Peculiar thinking, beliefs or behavior
• Belief in special powers, such as telepathy