Today I’ll cover the lesser-known Schizotypal Personality Disorder, which can be summed up in one word: odd.
People with Schizotypal Personality Disorder have bizarre mannersims and beliefs, and have trouble forming relationships. Unlike Schizoid Personality Disorder, individuals with Schizotypal PD want to connect with others, but their oddness and high social anxiety make that difficult. You might notice the similarity to the word Schizophrenia, but the perceptual disturbances and magical thinking of Schizotypal PD are not as intense or debilitating as in Schizophrenia.
Here are the criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association. At least 5 must be met for the diagnosis:
* Incorrect interpretations of events, including a feeling that something innocuous has a direct personal meaning
* Odd beliefs or magical thinking that are inconsistent with cultural norms
* Unusual perceptions, including illusions
* Odd thinking and speech patterns
* Suspicious or paranoid thoughts, such as the belief that someone’s “out to get them”
* Flat emotions, appearing aloof and isolated
* Odd, eccentric or peculiar behavior or appearance
* Lack of close friends or confidants other than relatives
* Excessive social anxiety that doesn’t diminish with familiarity
I was thinking that “Doc” from Back to the Future might fit this diagnosis, but he’s probably more manic than schizotypal. I was also wondering about “Martha” from Lisa Sanchez’s novel Eve of Samhain but if she really IS a witch then I guess she’s not Schizotypal. 🙂
A character from one of my favorite movies (American Beauty) does seem to fit this diagnosis, though:
Ricky Fitts, played by Wes Bentley, is a social outcast. He nails the peculiar appearance and flat emotions of this disorder. Developmental risk factors for Schizotypal PD include a history of abuse and emotionally detached parents, and he has those factors in spades.
What other characters can you think of that might fit this diagnosis?
I could cover another personality disorder in the next post but I might shift into some Axis I disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or eating disorders. Do you have a preference?
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